Saudi ex­e­cuted 175 in past year: Amnesty Int’l

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Saudi Ara­bia has ex­e­cuted at least 175 peo­ple over the past 12 months, on av­er­age one per­son ev­ery two days, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Tues­day by Amnesty In­ter­na­tional.

The 43-page re­port ti­tled “Killing In the Name of Jus­tice: The Death Penalty in Saudi Ara­bia” said that be­tween Jan­uary 1985 and June 2015, at least 2,208 peo­ple were ex­e­cuted in the king­dom. An As­so­ci­ated Press tally based on of­fi­cial an­nounce­ments shows that Saudi Ara­bia ex­e­cuted 109 peo­ple since Jan­uary, com­pared to 83 in all of 2014.

The king­dom fol­lows a strict in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Is­lamic law and ap­plies the death penalty to a num­ber of crimes in­clud­ing mur­der, rape and drug smug­gling. Though not as com- mon, Saudi Courts al­low for peo­ple to be ex­e­cuted for adul­tery, apos­tasy and witch­craft.

Peo­ple can also be ex­e­cuted for crimes com­mit­ted when they were be­low 18 years of age.

“Saudi Ara­bia’s faulty jus­tice sys­tem fa­cil­i­tates ju­di­cial ex­e­cu­tions on a mass scale,” Said Boume­douha, act­ing di­rec­tor of Amnesty’s Mid­dle East and North Africa pro­gram, said in a state­ment.

In one case high­lighted in the re­port, two sets of broth­ers from the same ex­tended fam­ily were ex­e­cuted in Au­gust 2014 in the south­ern city of Na­jran af­ter be­ing con­victed of re­ceiv­ing large quan­ti­ties of hashish. Amnesty said the men claimed they were tor­tured dur­ing in­ter­ro­ga­tion and sen­tenced to death largely based on con­fes­sions made af­ter be­ing beaten and de­prived of sleep.

Amnesty said it reached out to the Saudi In­te­rior and Jus­tice min­istries, but re­ceived no re­ply.

Most ex­e­cu­tions are car­ried out by be­head­ing, though some are also done by fir­ing squad. In rare cases, ex­e­cuted bod­ies have been dis­played in public to de­ter oth­ers from com­mit­ting crime.

Is­lamic law as prac­ticed in Saudi Ara­bia al­lows for ret­ri­bu­tion in some cases, whereby rel­a­tives of the mur­der vic­tim have the right to de­cide if the of­fender should be ex­e­cuted or par­doned. If par­doned, com­pen­sa­tion or “blood money” is of­ten paid to the fam­ily. In one case re­ported in Saudi media in 2012, a fa­ther par­doned his son’s killer on con­di­tion he mem­o­rize the Qu­ran be­fore leav­ing prison.

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