Saudi to behead joy-rider for 'drifting' killings

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(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

A Saudi court sentenced a middle-aged joy-rider to death by beheading for accidentally killing two people while performing a car stunt near the capital Riyadh, the Saudi newspaper Al Watan reported on Tuesday.

A pastime known as "drifting," in which drivers make their cars spin and skid at high speed, is popular among Saudi men with few options for entertainment in a conservative kingdom where cinemas do not exist and mixing between unrelated men and women is forbidden.

Al Watan reported that the defendant, which it said identified himself as "Mutannish" - "he who ignores" in Arabic, struck and killed two men while performing the thrill-seeking stunt and fled the scene before being arrested.

"The court of Onaiza handed down a sentence to kill the drifter 'mutannish' by beheading as punishment for his heinous deed and to deter others who tamper with the nation's security," the report stated.

Al Watan did not say when the sentence would be carried out. A Justice Ministry spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Saudi authorities have have treated deaths resulting from acts of "drifting" as criminally negligent homicides.

In 2005, a Saudi naval officer found guilty of killing three minors in a stunt-driving accident was handed a death sentence that was subsequently reduced to 3,000 lashes and 20 years in prison, according to local media.

Saudi Arabia, which follows a strict version of Sunni Islam, does not have a written penal code and judges issue verdicts according to their own interpretation of the Koran.

Amnesty International has said that at least 82 people were executed in Saudi Arabia last year, many of them by public beheading.

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Posted by: ben

the justice being served is a small fraction of the irresponsible drift drivers that are ever present on Saudi Roads.

Just query "Saudi drift" on you-tube and hundreds (if not thousands) of hits pop- up, including ones of stunts gone horribly wrong. But I doubt any of those offenders are facing the justice system right now.

The long and short story is that this execution will not deter younger drivers to stop their irresponsible behavior, and will continue to be a menace on public roads in the country

Posted by: Ananimous

What a troublesome article. It makes me sad on all ends: For the 2 men killed, for the "killer" and for the young Saudi men in general.

Posted by: sam

i completely agree - this is certainly very saddenning and you couldnt have expressed the feeling any better

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