Saudi Arabia orders Rizanas execution

Meanwhile Amnesty International said that after exhausting all of her appeals, Rizana Nafeek is at imminent risk of execution in Saudi Arabia for a crime she allegedly committed while under the age of 18.Amnesty International urged the Saudi King to commute her death sentence, particularly given Saudi Arabia’s obligations as a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and taking into account the uncertainty over Rizana Nafeek’s age. (Colombo Gazette)Related story: Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry under Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz has issued instructions for Rizana Nafeek’s execution, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today.HRW however said that under the system of qisas (retaliation) that governs murder cases in Saudi Arabia, the baby’s parents may still grant Nafeek a pardon or seek blood money in compensation. President Mahinda Rajapaksa sent an appeal to King Abdullah on January 6, 2013, requesting a stay of the execution until a settlement can be reached between the baby’s family and a Saudi reconciliation committee. Nafeek had been working in Saudi Arabia for two weeks in 2005 when the ‘Utaibi family’s 4-month-old baby died in her care. Nafeek retracted a confession that she said was made under duress, and says that the baby died in a choking accident while drinking from a bottle. Authorities have incarcerated Nafeek in Dawadmi prison since 2005.Past Human Rights Watch interviews with Sri Lankan embassy officials and reporting from Arab News found serious problems with Nafeek’s access to lawyers and competent interpreters during her interrogation and trial. Nafeek had no access to legal counsel until after a court in Dawadmi sentenced her to death by beheading in 2007. “The Saudi king and interior minister should immediately cancel the execution orders against Rizana Nafeek,” said Nisha Varia, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Saudi officials should then meet with the baby’s family and Sri Lankan authorities to make sure the death penalty won’t be considered again.” read more

Tired and cranky Brock student researcher hopes public can help find out

Didn’t get enough sleep last night? You’re not alone. One-third of Canadians suffer from sleep problems.Reuben Howlett, a master’s student in Brock University’s Department of Psychology, wants to understand how poor sleep affects emotion and cognition, and hopes members of the public can help by participating in his most recent study.According to Statistics Canada, around half of Canadian adults have trouble falling or staying asleep, and a third sleep less than the recommended seven hours. At any given time, about 10 per cent are suffering from clinically debilitating insomnia.Reuben Howlett, a master’s student in Psychology, demonstrates some of the equipment in Brock University’s Sleep Research Laboratory with third-year PhD student Kari Lustig.Poor sleep greatly reduces productivity, costing billions to the economy, and leaves drowsy drivers at an increased risk of car crashes.Getting enough sleep lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke, helps regulate your appetite, protects against cancer and dementia, and even boosts your immune system. It also improves reaction time, mood, emotion regulation and memory.“Imagine if there was medicine that you could take daily that did all this, people would be lining up at the pharmacy. So why are we neglecting sleep?” asks Howlett.The 29-year-old Etobicoke resident is interested in understanding the effects of poor sleep on people’s ability to perceive information, such as facial expressions and pictures, in their environment. His master’s thesis research project is supervised by Kimberly Cote, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Director of the Brock University Sleep Research Laboratory, and Past President of the Canadian Sleep Society.“Our research will contribute to a growing body of knowledge on how sleep affects human cognition and daily functioning,” Cote says.Members of the public are asked to participate in Howlett’s ongoing study.Study participants don’t need to sleep at the lab. Instead, they take home a simple, easy-to-use version of the cutting-edge equipment that researchers use. Participants wear the sleep monitors in their own homes for two nights, then spend an afternoon on Brock’s main campus completing computer tasks in the lab.Researchers are looking for both good and poor sleepers aged 18 to 50. Good sleepers who are not shift workers, are non-smokers and have no diagnosis of psychiatric conditions (such as depression, anxiety or schizophrenia) are invited to contact the Sleep Lab. For poor sleepers, researchers are seeking individuals who have trouble falling/staying asleep and who normally get less than 6.5 hours of sleep. They must have difficulty sleeping at least three times a week and the trouble must have been ongoing for at least one month.All participants will receive a $60 honorarium. Poor sleepers will also receive a guidebook on how to improve their sleep.To sign up or for more information on eligibility requirements, contact the Brock Sleep Research Laboratory at, 289-407-1567 or by visiting the lab’s Facebook page.This project has been funded by two internal grants from Brock University: a Council for Research in the Social Sciences award and a Brock University Student Research Award. read more