26 September 2016
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    » 06/06/2013, 00.00

    SAUDI ARABIA

    Not enough executioners for Saudi Arabia's death row inmates



    Justice Ministers plans to add shooting to beheading as a method of execution; not out of compassion, but because the lack of executioners is causing a backlog. Since January 2013, at least 40 people have been executed, the last one on 14 May. Last year, 76 people were executed.

    Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Saudi Arabia is governed by Sharia and people sentenced to death are executed with a sword in accordance with Islamic law. However, fewer people are interested in a "career" in executing others, a task that requires a lot of cold blood and a lot of training in how to swing properly the sword. In fact, a memo from the Saudi Justice Ministry is bemoaning a labour shortage in people trained to use the blade.

    Within the kingdom, courts are forced to compete for executioners, who must travel around the country to carry out sentences. This is slowing down the justice system. To speed matters up, the Justice Ministry has issued an order allowing courts to shoot prisoners on the grounds that this method is not unIslamic.

    In reality, the lack of trained executioners has not slowed down executions in Saudi Arabia. Since the beginning 2013, at least 40 people have been put to death. The last case occurred on 14 May in Najran, in the country's south-west. The executed felon, Maneh al-Daen, had been convicted of stabbing to death a fellow tribesman. Last year, the kingdom executed 76 people.

    For years, the main human rights groups and many Western governments have tried to get the Saudi kingdom to implement fairer trials and less cruel executions. However, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where the death sentence by beheading can be carried out in a public place.

    The death penalty is applied in cases of murder, armed robbery, rape and drug trafficking, as well as witchcraft and sodomy.

    No less cruel are sentences for minor offences s such as theft and crimes of opinion, which in addition to jail time, may include public flogging or the chopping off of hands or feet.

    Recently, a case involving two men, a Lebanese and a Saudi, sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes for pushing a young woman to convert to Christianity, generated a lot of discussion in the country. They were convicted despite the fact that the young woman, who is a refugee in Sweden, defended the two, saying in a video that she had converted without compulsion.

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    See also

    20/04/2012 SAUDI ARABIA
    Sri Lanka woman accused of sorcery could be beheaded in Saudi Arabia
    She was arrested after a man complained that his daughter started acting strangely during a trip to a shopping centre in Jeddah after they came close to the Sri Lankan. Since September, two people have been put to death for the same reason.

    20/07/2016 15:25:00 SAUDI ARABIA
    With Ramadan over, Saudi executions pick up; so far almost 100 carried out this year

    Two people, a Saudi convicted of murder and a Pakistani sentenced for drug trafficking, are executed, bringing to 98 the number of executions in 2016. Rights groups note that this year’s rate of executions is higher than last year’s at this point in time.



    10/10/2011 BANGLADESH – SAUDI ARABIA
    Eight Bangladeshis publicly beheaded in Riyadh, five more at risk
    The men were migrant workers. Pleas by human rights activists against the “barbaric”, “appalling” and “medieval” practice fell on deaf ears. The government and embassy of Bangladesh are criticised for the way they dealt with the matter.

    26/11/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
    Riyadh: man to be decapitated for witchcraft
    In a recent report, Human Rights Watch calls for the sentence to be overturned. Each year, dozens of people are convicted in the desert kingdom for acts against Sharia.

    21/06/2011 INDONESIA – SAUDI ARABIA
    Indonesian woman beheaded in Saudi Arabia, Jakarta threatens to stop flow of migrants
    A 54-year-old woman was beheaded last Saturday for killing her employer. The Indonesian Embassy was unaware of her trial because Saudi authorities failed to inform them. Indonesian public opinion reacts strongly to the incident.



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