Saudi Arabia carries out 84th execution of 2014

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Monday, December 22, 2014

Saudi Arabia on Monday beheaded a child rapist, adding to what activists say is one of the world's highest execution tolls.

The Interior Ministry said Suleiman Bin Abdullah had been found guilty of kidnapping a male child, tying him up "and performing the obscene" act.

Authorities carried out the sentence against him in Buraydah city, northwest of Riyadh, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

He was the latest of 84 Saudis and foreigners to be executed in the kingdom this year, according to an AFP tally.

Rape, murder, drug trafficking, apostasy and armed robbery are punishable by death under Saudi Arabia's medieval interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

The oil-rich Gulf state saw the third highest number of executions in the world last year holding 78 executions, Amnesty International said in a report released in March.

Political activism can also be penalized by death, as US-ally Saudi Arabia, like neighboring Bahrain, has taken a zero tolerance approach to all attempts at protest or dissent in the kingdom, including by liberal rights activists, Islamists, and members of the Shia minority.

Saudi judges have this year passed death sentences down to five pro-democracy advocates, including prominent activist and cleric Nimr al-Nimr, for their part in protests.

The new Saudi Terrorism law issued early this year 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.”

In September, two independent human rights experts working on behalf of the United Nations expressed concern about the judicial process in Saudi Arabia and called for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty.

“Despite several calls by human rights bodies, Saudi Arabia continues to execute individuals with appalling regularity and in flagrant disregard of international law standards,” said Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia implements a wide range of brutal punishments, including flogging, hefty fines and exaggerated prison sentences, for minor crimes.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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