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.