Caritas Sri Lanka in support of Rizana, on death row in Saudi Arabia

» 08/29/2011 10:40

by Melani Manel Perera
The young Muslim is held responsible for the death of a child in the family where she worked, at age 17. She had emigrated illegally with a false passport.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Caritas Sri Lanka is calling for the country’s Catholics to continue to pray for Rizana Nafeek, the Sri Lankan girl in prison in Saudi Arabia while Muslims around the world celebrate the month of Ramadan. “I ask all Catholics to continue to pray and offer all their good wishes of solidarity for the liberation of Rafeek Nizan,” said Fr George Sigamoney. Caritas Sri Lanka will appeal to Saudi Arabia through its international network.

The director of Caritas Sri Lanka and Director of the Advisory Committee on Migrant Workers, Fr. George Sigamoney, was interviewed by AsiaNews on this issue. “We see that the government is taking the necessary steps for action in the case of Rizana”. Fr. Sigamoney appreciates the effort made by the Criminal Investigations Department in Colombo to arrest the mediator responsible for having sent Rizana Nafeek to Saudi Arabia on a false passport. Rizana is currently on death row in Saudi Arabia. But he has some hope for the girl’s fate. “She may yet return home, because Rizana’s fate is in the hands of the parents of the dead child. As a Church we must continue to pray for her, and to seek forgiveness from the parents. ”

Fr. Sigamoney illustrates the effort of Caritas Sri Lanka: “Through our international network we have launched an appeal to the Saudi government, not only here but also from Europe. I think we should continue with this appeal, and I have written to many organizations to mobilise in support of Rizana “. In addition, the country’s Catholic Church, together with Caritas, have launched a petition for Rizana’s release: “We are making a maximum effort and we are looking for other ways to influence both the authorities of Sri Lanka that the government of Saudi Arabia to do the right thing”.

Fr. Sigamoney in his capacity as a member of the Advisory Committee on Migrants recalls that the next meeting of the organization will provide suggestions and recommendations for a new policy on emigration. According to the Minister for Promotion of working abroad, Dilan Perera, Saudi Arabia has reached an agreement with Sri Lanka for better treatment of migrant workers.