Britain has condemned the execution of a Sri Lankan domestic worker in Saudi Arabia as "cruel and inhuman".

Rizana Nafeek, 24, was beheaded for killing a Saudi baby in her care in 2005, after authorities rejected appeals from her home country.

Saudi authorities said she had smothered the four-month-old boy after an argument with the child's mother, a charge Nafeek has always denied.

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Rizana Nafeek, 24, was beheaded for killing a Saudi baby in her care in 2005

The death sentence was condemned by Human Rights Watch as a breach of international codes governing the rights of minors, as Nafeek was 17 at the time of the child's death.

The Saudi interior ministry confirmed that the execution was carried out, but gave no further details.

In a statement issued in London, Foreign Office minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said: "I condemn the execution of Rizana Nafeek in Saudi Arabia yesterday, despite the many appeals for her sentence to be commuted.

"The UK opposes all use of the death penalty as a matter of principle, whatever the crime committed.

"The beheading of Ms Nafeek is particularly concerning as reports suggest she may have been a child of 17 at the time the crime was committed.

"We also find the practice of beheading to be particularly cruel and inhuman. We continue to raise our concerns about human rights with the Saudi authorities, including its frequent use of the death penalty."