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Thu 5 Mar 2015 01:54 PM

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Saudi human rights head defends death penalty

President of Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission tells UN Human Rights Council that capital punishment is justice for victims

Saudi human rights head defends death penalty

The head of Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission has defended the kingdom’s use of the death penalty, claiming it is justice for victims.

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of execution in the world, with 79 people beheaded in 2013, according to a tally by AP.

The Saudi Human Rights Commission president Bandar Al Aiban told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday the kingdom would continue to apply the principles of Shariah law, the rules that govern Islam, in all areas of life, particularly in punishment for grave crimes, the official state news agency SPA said.

“As we renew our emphasis on respect of the right to life as one of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Islamic law, we should not forget the calls to cancel or suspend the implementation of capital punishment rule for the victims' rights which are violated by perpetrators,” Al Aiban was quoted as saying.

“The implementation of capital punishment rule in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are taken in the most serious crimes threatening the security and safety of the community and the rights of individuals.”

Saudi Gazette reported Al Aiban also iterating that other countries apply the death penalty, including the US.

“The Kingdom is keen to protect the rights of both the offenders and the victims,” the daily quoted him as saying.

“This is the underlying spirit while carrying out the penalty for criminals convicted of murder.

"We carry out the death penalty only after it was upheld by at least 13 judges at three levels of courts from the preliminary court to the Supreme Court.”

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