Saudi court commutes death sentence for Sri Lankan maid
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a news conference in Riyadh December 15, 2015. REUTERS/Saudi Press Agency/Handout via Reuters

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: An appeals court in Saudi Arabia has commuted a sentence of death by stoning for a Sri Lankan maid convicted of adultery, a Sri Lankan government minister said Wednesday.

Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Atukorale said the Sri Lankan government had asked that the case be reopened, and a Saudi court on Tuesday commuted the sentence to three years in prison.

Asked by reporters why the penalty was reduced, she said the woman was provided with a lawyer during the appeal hearing instead of only a translator as she had in the earlier court session when she was convicted. “Now the sentence has been reduced to three years,” Atukorale said.

The 45-year-old married woman with two children, who was working as a maid in Saudi Arabia, was sentenced to death by stoning in August. An unmarried Sri Lankan man convicted with her was given a penalty of 100 lashes.

The Sri Lankan government has not revealed their identities.

Saudi Arabia follows a conservative interpretation of Islamic law and applies the death penalty to a number of crimes including murder, rape and drug smuggling. Though not commonly carried out, Saudi courts also allow for people to be executed for adultery, apostasy and witchcraft.

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