Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saudi Arabia mum over Lankan queries on execution and public display

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has ignored a query made by Sri Lanka last Wednesday regarding the execution of a fourth Sri Lankan convict Shamila Sangeeth Kumara, as he was only sentenced to 15 years for his part in an armed robbery.

Along with this inquiry Sri Lanka also made a request for the return of the bodies of those beheaded.

Sri Lanka made the inquiry through our embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday after the sudden executions of Victor Corea, D.D. Ranjith de Silva, Shantha Pushpakumara and Shamila last Monday without any intimation to our mission or their families. All four were convicted in October 2005, without the benefit of any legal counsel, for armed robbery committed in the previous year.

The four men were convicted of “forming a criminal gang which robbed a number of companies and threatened accountants and workers with weapons, shooting one of them and stealing his car,” the official Saudi Press Agency had reported on Monday, citing an Interior Ministry statement.A Foreign Ministry official here said that till Friday evening there had been no reply from the Saudis. Friday is also a public holiday in the Kingdom. In the past Saudis have not been repatriating bodies of convicts that they executed.

Earlier Sri Lanka had appealed twice to the King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah for clemency, but both appeals had been ignored as well.

Observers said that in addition to beheading the four Sri Lankans,
the Saudi court had ordered the bodies of the four beheaded Lankans to be displayed in a public square.

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