DAWADMI: One of the interpreters who translated the statements of a Sri Lankan maid sentenced to death in 2007 for the alleged murder of a Saudi baby in her care will not appear in court since he has left the Kingdom for good, the high court announced yesterday.

Responding to an objection raised by Kateb Al-Shammari, the lawyer representing Rizana Nafeek, Chief Justice Abdullah Al-Rosaimi said the interpreter, Mustaffa Saibo, had left the Kingdom on an exit visa according to his employer.

Reacting to the news, Al-Shammari said the court could not come to a conclusion without questioning the veracity of Saibo’s statements on which the death sentence was based.

The Dawadmi high court reviewed the case yesterday on the instructions of the Supreme Judicial Council.

Another interpreter involved in the case, Karim Mawiya Cader Mohammed, appeared in court yesterday with his employer who vouched for his integrity.

At the last hearing held on Aug. 30, Al-Shammari told the court that he wanted to know whether Mohammed — an ethnically non-Tamil who has been working for an electronics company in Dawadmi for 20 years and is originally from India’s Karnataka state — is proficient in Tamil to interpret Nafeek’s statements to the police and in court.

The court told the attorney that it would summon two witnesses to the next hearing to vouch for the translator’s honesty, integrity and ability to translate from Tamil.

Mohammed told the court that he translated Nafeek’s statement in May 2005 when she was brought to Dawadmi from Jezma. “I come to courts on request for translation purposes and I am paid SR100 per case,” Mohammed told Arab News, adding that he knows Tamil, which is widely spoken in India’s Tamil Nadu state and Sri Lanka.

In his written submission, Al-Shammari argued that Nafeek was never hired to be a nanny and that the death occurred due to her inexperience in dealing with newborn children. A three-member bench, led by Al-Rosaimi, decided to hold the next hearing on Jan. 4.

Yesterday marked the sixth time Nafeek appeared at the Dawadmi court since the baby’s death in May 2005. The court sentenced her to death in June 2007, and the ruling was appealed a month later. In December 2007, the Cassation Court sent the case back to Dawadmi high court. In March this year, the court sent the case to the Supreme Judicial Council, which ordered the judges to hear the defense attorney’s objections.

—Arab News