In 2007, Ms. Nafeek was convicted of murdering four-month-old baby Naif al-Quthaibi while working as his nanny in 2005. She had been accused of killing the baby after an argument with his mother. Nafeek said the child had choked to death on milk during a bottle feeding.
The Sri Lankan government appealed the death penalty, but the Saudi Supreme Court upheld it in 2010. Despite an international campaign for clemency, that verdict was ratified by the interior ministry.
Human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have criticized the Saudi authorities, saying that this execution breaches the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Saudi Arabia has ratified.
Amnesty International said the passport Nafeek used to enter Saudi Arabia in May 2005 stated she was born in February 1982, but her birth certificate states she was born six years later, which would have made her 17 at the time of the infant's death.
In a statement, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said that President Rajapakse and the government deplored the execution "despite all efforts at the highest level of the government and the outcry of the people locally and internationally".
Saudi Arabia beheaded as many as 76 people last year under its strict code of Islamic law. Cases of abuse, torture and imprisonment of domestic servants has led some countries to restrict recruitment of maids by Saudi Arabian agencies.
0Voice of Russia, the Daily Telegraph, BBC