Saudi Airman Sentenced 35 Years to Life for Raping Boy in Vegas

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Saudi Air Force sergeant convicted in the rape of a 13-year-old boy at a Las Vegas casino hotel was sentenced on Wednesday to 35 years to life in prison for the crime, a court spokeswoman said.

Mazen Alotaibi, 25, was found guilty in Las Vegas in 2013 of kidnapping, burglary, coercion, lewdness on a child and sexual assault on a minor over a 2012 New Year's Eve attack.

Prosecutors say Alotaibi, who was visiting Las Vegas while temporarily stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, lured a then-13-year-old boy to a room at the Circus Circus hotel and sexually assaulted him.

Under the sentence imposed in a Las Vegas court, Alotaibi is not eligible for parole for a state-mandated 35 years, according to court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price. If he is released, he will be required to be under periodic supervision, Price said.

The judge did not sentence Alotaibi for his conviction for coercion, and a court hearing for the judge to impose a sentence on that count is scheduled for Monday, Price said.

If Alotaibi was facing charges in his native country of Saudi Arabia he would have been beheaded.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia beheaded a serial child rapist, bringing to 13 the number of Saudis and foreigners executed this year, according to an AFP tally.

"Moussa bin Saeed Ali al-Zahrani lured several underage girls and kidnapped them. He also threatened them and their relatives and physically assaulted them in his home," the Saudi Press Agency said, citing the interior ministry.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, which executed 87 people last year compared to 78 in 2013, according to an AFP tally.

Saudi Arabia's legal code follows a strict Wahhabi interpretation of Sharia. Judges are trained as religious scholars and have a broad scope to base verdicts and sentences on their own interpretation of religious texts.

The Western-backed kingdom has faced international criticism for its frequent use of the death penalty.

But the interior ministry insists that the execution of convicts such as Zahrani aims "to maintain security and realize justice.”

In 2014, Saudi judges have passed death sentences down to five pro-democracy advocates, including prominent activist and cleric Nimr al-Nimr, for their part in protests.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)


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