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Sri Lankans 'crucified' in Riyadh
 
Saudi security forces
Nearly 350,000 Sri Lankans work in Saudi Arabia
A Saudi judge has ordered the bodies of four Sri Lankans to be publicly displayed after the execution, Rights watchdogs said.

The Sri Lankans were beheaded by the sword on 19 February, after nearly three years in death row in al-Hair prison in the capital, Riyadh.

DD Ranjith de Silva, Victor Corea, Sanath Pushpakumara and Sharmila Sangeeth Kumara were found guilty for armed robbery and threatening civilians using guns.

The Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry has ruled out further attempts to get their bodies back to Sri Lanka, relatives told BBC Sandeshaya.

Islamic burial

Quoting media reports, family sources said the bodies have already been buried according to Islamic tradition within 24 hours of the execution.

Saudi King Abdullah
Watchdogs urged Saudi authorities to follow international standards

The families of the executed men are organising a Buddhist religious rites to invoke merits on them next week.

The human rights watchdogs said the court proceedings were flawed and the four men were not given access to a legal representative before and during the trial.

New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the four men were not warned of an imminent execution even the week before.

No prior warning

"The execution of these four migrants, who had been badly beaten and locked up for years without access to lawyers, is a travesty of justice," said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East and North Africa director.

 The execution of these four migrants, who had been badly beaten and locked up for years without access to lawyers, is a travesty of justice
 
Sarah Leah of HRW

HRW added that their researchers were told by the prison ward that the no prisoners sentenced to death were held at al-Hair prison.

Ranjith Silva, however, speaking over the phone with HRW on 12 February 2007, just a week before the execution, has expressed his hope that they be pardoned soon.

International standards

The watchdog says the Saudi authorities have failed to warn of their fate to the prisoners or their relatives.

Amnesty International (AI) said Saudi Arabia has executed 17 persons during the first two months of 2007.

Both AI and HRW called on the Saudi authorities to halt all executions and respect international standards on punishing those convicted of less serious crimes such as robbery.

It is estimated that nearly 350,000 Sri Lankan work in Saudi Arabia.

 
 
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LOCAL LINKS
Srilankans executed in Saudi
19 February, 2007 | Sandeshaya
Death row Lankans appeal for mercy
29 November, 2005 | Highlights
AI appeal : ‘Save Lankans in Saudi’
22 July, 2005 | Sandeshaya
'Doing best' to save Saudi Lankans
20 April, 2005 | Sandeshaya
Lanka 'waiting for Saudi response'
10 April, 2005 | Sandeshaya
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