10/16/2008, 00.00
SAUDI ARABIA
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For Saudi human rights association death penalty is lawful

Group spokesman criticises a report by Amnesty International, which says that capital punishment is unfairly imposed; defends rules, stressing that Sharia is the law of the land. Last year 158 people were killed this way.
Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The death penalty in the kingdom is not carried out until after “an exhaustive examination of the relevant” evidence with “enough guarantees for the defendant” and especially in accordance with Sharia or Islamic Law, Zuhayr al-Harithi, the Saudi Human Rights Association spokesman, said in response to criticism from Amnesty International which in its annual report slammed "the process in which the death penalty is taken and implemented [because it] is harsh, secret, and largely unfair.”

The London-based human rights association said that Saudi Arabia is “executing convicted persons at an average of more than two a week and that around half of them are foreigners from poor countries.

The number of executions carried out last year rose to 158 up from 36 in the previous year.

For Al-Harithi international organisations are unable to understand that “each country has its own penal system and judicial rulings which should be respected.”

Saudi Arabia applies the rules of Sharia law which imposes the death penalty in cases of murder, sexual violence, drug trafficking and witchcraft.”

But for Al-Harithi  the death penalty in the kingdom is not carried out until after an “exhaustive examination of the relevant” evidence is conducted by 13 judges before it is endorsed by “the highest authority in the kingdom, the king.”

The judicial system in Saudi Arabia also allows victims’ families to pardon convicted killers, saving their lives.

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