Public executions have become alarmingly high in the 'Saudi' kingdom. In a report released on August 24, Amnesty International has raised concerns about the arbitrary nature of the Saudi judicial system that does not meet even the minimum standards of justice. Over the past 12 months, 175 persons have been executed; that is one person every other day. But don't wait for protests from London or Washington.
Tuesday August 25, 2015, 11:03 DST
There have been at least 175 executions in the Najdi Bedouin-ruled kingdom of Arabia in the past year. People are executed after unfair trials lacking basic safeguards, according to a new report released by the human rights organization, Amnesty International. Released yesterday (August 24), Amnesty’s report titled: ‘Killing in the name of Justice: The death penalty in Saudi Arabia’ says the desert kingdom’s “faulty justice system facilitates judicial executions on a mass scale.”
The vast majority of those executed are foreign workers lacking adequate knowledge of the Arabic language, and are also denied proper legal representation. Often, confessions are extracted under torture before capricious judges pass the death sentence. There is no codified law in the kingdom. While claiming to be governed by the Qur’an and Sunnah (i.e., the Shari‘ah), judges hand down sentences quite arbitrarily.
For instance, under the Shari‘ah, drug offenses are not punishable by death yet a large number of foreigners (one third) were executed for drug related offenses. Calling it “one of the most prolific executioners in the world,” Amnesty’s documents show that “between January 1985… and June 2015 it executed at least 2,200 persons, almost half of whom were foreign nationals (48.5%).”
Often, the embassies or consulates of foreign workers are not notified when their national is arrested on any charge. Even if they were, most embassies and consulates do not wish to risk offending the Saudis and thereby lose the opportunity to send poor workers seeking employment to remit foreign exchange back home. Cash strapped governments in places like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines etc provide little if any consular services to their nationals.
The Saudi regime is also notorious for sentencing to death and executing individuals for crimes committed when they were below 18 years of age. This is “in violation of the country’s obligations under international customary law and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” says Amnesty in its report. The most well known case was that of Rizana Nafeek, a 17-year-old Sri Lankan maid who had been in the kingdom barely a week and was accused of choking an infant in her care. What possible motive could poor Rizana have to kill the child yet she was executed five years later despite numerous appeals for mercy, including one from the Sri Lankan president to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Contrast this with the derisory sentence handed down to a Saudi celebrity preacher, Layhan al Ghamdi, who after accusing his five-old daughter, Lhama, of ‘losing her virginity,’ raped her repeatedly and beat her so badly that her back and skull were fractured. The poor child died in hospital a few weeks later. Ghamdi was sentenced to time served in prison following his arrest and then set free. This caused uproar in the kingdom forcing the regime to order a retrial. Even at his retrial, Ghamdi was fined $270,000 and sentenced to eight years in prison and 100 lashes. Was he lashed? Why was Ghamdi not executed for killing a child, even if his own daughter after making such a scandalous allegation?
“Also in violation of international law, the death penalty in Saudi Arabia continues to be used against persons with mental disabilities,” according to Amnesty International. The rising number of beheadings has led to shortage of executioners. Last April, the regime placed an advertisement for eight more executioners. Despite Amnesty’s damning report against the Saudi regime, has there been any word of condemnation from regimes in London, Paris or Washington?
Perish the thought. They would rather sell more weapons the barbarians in the Arabian Peninsula. Their only regret seems to be that they do not supply swords for executions. The Najdi Bedouins are self-sufficient in this one instrument used for chopping the heads of mostly innocent people.