Remember Rizana Nafeek **** Cancel the Arms Treaty with Saudi Arabia

Press Release: January 11, 2013

The Middle East Crisis Committee condemns the execution of Rizana Nafeek in Saudi Arabia and calls for the U.S. to cancel its weapons sales to the kingdom.

Stanley Heller, MECC Executive Director said, "Yesterday's gruesome beheading of Rizana Nafeek, carried out by Saudi Arabian authorities, must mark the end of tolerance for the Saudi regime. This kingdom executes people for witchcraft and blasphemy, and lashes women who drive cars. It does not allow the existence of labor unions, but permits old men to marry children. Political rights are non-existent and demonstrations are put down violently. The regime is a notorious sanctuary for tyrants from Idi Amin of Urganda to Zine Ben Ali of Tunisia."

Rizana Nafeek, a young woman from Sri Lanka, worked as a domestic. She was found guilty of murdering a baby in her care when she was 17 years old. International law forbids execution of people for crimes committed when they were under 18. Nafeek confessed to the killing, but Human Rights Watch claims she made her confession under duress. In a statement the group said "Nafeek had no access to legal counsel until after a court in Dawadmi sentenced her to death by beheading in 2007." (see link below)

Besides its terrible human rights record, the kingdom gave millions to the Taliban. It took part last year in the suppression of the democratic movement in Bahrain. It is sending weapons into Syria to arm sectarian forces that attack all who do not agree with its extreme version of Islam.

Heller continued, "Enough is enough. Saudi Arabia should be regarded as an international pariah. Obama's $60 billion dollar U.S.-Saudi arms deal must be cancelled."

The Middle East Crisis Committee is a 30 year human rights organization founded in New Haven in 1982. It's website is

Human Rights Watch statement