Saudi Arabia Beheads Rapist, Murderer, Marking 38th Execution of 2015

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Updated at 3:03 pm (GMT+ 2): Saudi Arabia beheaded a convicted rapist and a murderer on Tuesday, bringing to 38 the number of death sentences carried out in the kingdom this year.

Mohammed bin Ali bin Mohammed al-Bishi, a Saudi national, raped his victim at gunpoint, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

"He also committed a number of armed robberies causing panic amongst the society. He had entered a number of homes by force and tried to kidnap and rape women and children," the statement said, adding that Bishi was sentenced to death "as punishment and to serve as a deterrent to others."

Authorities carried out the sentence in the southwestern region of Asir.

In a separate case, Hamoud bin Salih bin Falih al-Zubi was executed in the capital Riyadh, the ministry said. He was sentenced to death for gunning down a fellow Saudi during a brawl.

Another native of the kingdom, Falih bin Misnad bin Rabea al-Inzi, was beheaded in Qassim region for a fatal stabbing.

Drug trafficking, rape, murder, apostasy and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the Gulf kingdom's strict version of Islamic sharia law. However, felonies are not the only charges that can lead to the death penalty in the oil-rich kingdom. The Saudi terrorism law issued in early 2014 casts a wide net over what it considers to be “terrorism.”

Under the law, punishable offenses include ”calling for atheist thought in any form,” “throwing away loyalty to the country’s rulers,” and “seeking to shake the social fabric or national cohesion.”

Amnesty International said in its annual report released last week that death sentences in Saudi Arabia are often imposed "after unfair trials."

The London-based watchdog said some defendants claimed to have been tortured or "otherwise coerced or misled into making false confessions" before trial.

Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program, said the fact “that people are tortured into confessing to crimes, convicted in shameful trials without adequate legal support and then executed is a sickening indictment of the Kingdom’s state-sanctioned brutality.”

Human Rights Watch urged the Saudi authorities to abolish the Specialized Criminal Court, the body that sentenced five pro-democracy advocates, including prominent activist and cleric Nimr al-Nimr, and many others to death, saying that analysis revealed “serious due process concerns” such as “broadly framed charges,” “denial of access to lawyers,” and “quick dismissal of allegations of torture without investigation.”

The Gulf nation executed 87 people in 2014 according to an AFP tally. More than 2,000 people were executed in the kingdom between 1985 and 2013, Amnesty claimed in a report.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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