A domestic worker of Sri Lankan origin was sentenced to death by stoning in Saudi Arabia, on charges of zina – sexual relations outside marriage.
The 45-year-old mother of three will be stoned to death tomorrow, December 4, according to the Muslim Women’s Research & Action Front in Sri Lanka.
The man, who is unmarried, will receive 100 lashes.
Saudi Arabia is governed by strict sharia and implements the brutal hudud punishments. Recently it sentenced to death a poet for apostasy, drawing frequent comparisons between its government and that of the Islamic State. Both are based on the same austere Salafist-Wahhabist stream of Sunni Islam.
Even if they do not fall foul of Saudi Arabia’s draconian penal code, Sri Lankan domestic workers, along with those from other countries, face severe discrimination in Saudi Arabia.
Sri Lankan domestic workers in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries “suffer physical, psychological, and sexual abuse; nonpayment of wages; food deprivation; confiscation of their identity documents; forced confinement in the workplace; and limitations on their ability to return to their home countries when they wish to do so,” according to a 2007 Human Rights Watch report entitled Exported and Exposed.
There have not been changes in the labor law of Saudi Arabia or surrounding countries since that report was released and Sri Lankan women still face severe abuse.
A petition was created on avaaz.org calling on Saudi Arabia to commute the sentence of death by stoning and instead extradite both the woman and her alleged lover to their home countries.