Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Saudi Arabia - A Valuable Ally in the Middle East

Is it possible to tell the difference between our friends and our enemies in the Middle East? Surely, as such a valuable friend, Saudi Arabia would be worthy of our support? Remember, the American administration is prepared to offer huge sums of military aid to this country. An administration that wants to end tyranny in the region. An administration that claimed that Saddam needed to be dealt with due to his poor huamn rights record. An administration that overlooks crimes such as this:

The New York based Human Rights Watch demanded that the Appeals Court investigating into the death sentence of the Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafeek should consider not only the fact that the alleged crime occurred at a time when she was a child of 17 but also the fairness of the original investigation into the allegations against her .

“This case raises many troubling questions about the treatment of children and foreigners in Saudi Arabia’s criminal justice system,” said Nisha Varia, senior researcher in the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch in a statement issued July 30 in New York.

The human rights organization demanded that for those who cannot afford lawyers the Saudi Arabian government should start providing lawyers in criminal cases like in other countries.

The Human Rights group was commenting on last month‘s verdict, on a Shari’a court in Dawadmi, Saudi Arabia, that sentenced to death Nafeek, 19, ruling that she had murdered an infant in her care in 2005. The Sri Lanka embassy on behalf of Nafeek filed an appeal last week opposing the sentence. “International law prohibits the death penalty for crimes committed before the age of 18”, the statement said.