Saudi Arabia set to crucify convicted thief

Man is one of seven prisoners sentenced to death for robbing jewellery in the kingdom
Saudi Arabia set to crucify convicted thief
By Claire Valdini
Tue 12 Mar 2013 10:21 AM

Saudi Arabia is set to crucify a convicted armed robber in the next week.

The man is one of seven sentenced to death by crucifixion and firing squad for their part in a 23-member ring that stole from jewellery stores in 2004 and 2005. The main defendant, Sarhan Al Mashayeh, will be crucified for three days while the others will face a firing squad.

A security official told AP that the ruler of Asir, Prince Faisal bin Abdel Aziz, ordered the postponement for one week. They were due to be executed last week but King Abdullah is said to be reviewing the sentences.

One of the accused, Nasser Al Qahtani, told AP that his was one of seven juveniles arrested for armed robbery, a capital offence in Saudi Arabia. The men were forced to confess during torture and were barred access to lawyers, he claimed.

Human Rights Watch said all seven men were aged 16-20 when authorities arrested them in 2006 for committing a robbery in 2005. The Gulf state, which applies an austere version of Sunni Islam, is one of only three countries worldwide known to have executed people in the past two years for crimes committed when they were children.

“It would be outrageous if the Saudi authorities go ahead with these executions,” Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at HWR said in a statement March 4.

“It is high time for the Saudis to stop executing child offenders and start observing their obligations under international human rights law,” he added.

Saudi Arabia is reported to have crucified several people in the last year. Amnesty International condemned such as an execution as “the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment” in 2009.

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