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Saudi Arabia reopens case of Sri Lankan woman on death row

A Saudi court will hear appeal of case of woman sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery

A Saudi court has decided to reopen the case of a Sri Lankan woman who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, Sri Lanka's Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva said Tuesday.

He told parliament that an appeals court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's capital, has decided to hear the case again after pleas by Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry. "Based on the advice of the lawyers and [the Foreign Ministry's] intervention on the matter, a decision has been reached to reopen the case," he told lawmakers.

"We see this as a victory," he said, adding that the ministry will bear all the legal expenses of reopening the case and "make the fullest efforts in order to get this judgment changed."

The woman, 45, who is married with two children and was working as a maid in Saudi Arabia, was sentenced in August. The unmarried Sri Lankan man convicted alongside her was sentenced to 100 lashes. The Foreign Ministry has not revealed their identities.

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met with an official from the Saudi Embassy in Colombo last week and expressed Sri Lanka's concerns about the case. Samaraweera has requested to speak with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister to seek clemency for the woman.

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, an umbrella organization of Sri Lanka's minority Muslims, said it wrote to Saudi Arabia's King Salman last week to ask him to pardon the woman and the man, noting their limited education and adverse economic situation.

Wire services


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