August 11


EYE FOR AN EYE---- Paralysis, eye gouging and crucifixion -- the Medieval and grotesque punishments faced by criminals in Saudi Arabia; Saudi Arabia continues use barbaric methods of execution claiming they are justified by the Quran and its traditions

Saudi Arabia has some of the most barbaric and bizarre punishments in the world. Public beheadings, amputations, eye for an eye retribution and flogging all form part of the justice system.

As The Sun reported this week, a murderer was crucified after being found guilty of repeatedly stabbing a woman, his body hung on a cross after execution.

Crown Prince Salman wants to make the desert kingdom a tech savvy 21st century nation and has introduced liberal reforms.

Yet for all his ambitions, the country still has the trappings of one caught in a altogether different era, particularly when it comes to its justice system.

Saudi Arabia retains the death penalty for a large number of offences including drug trafficking and "sorcery" as well as murder.

The majority of death sentences are carried out in public by beheading, drawing comparisons with the shocking brutality of the Islamic State.

The system is based on Shariah law, which the Saudis say is rooted in Islamic tradition and the Quran.

While they insist trials are conducted to the strictest standards of fairness, evidence has emerged from the country to suggest the opposite.

Trials are reported to have lasted a day and confessions extracted under torture.

The country has no written penal code and no code of criminal procedure and judicial procedure.

That allows courts wide powers to determine what constitutes a criminal offence and what sentences crimes deserve.

The only means of appeal is directly to the King, who decides whether the condemned lives or dies.

The list of punishments makes for grim reading.


Last year the kingdom year carried out 146 executions, the 3rd highest rate in the world behind China and Iran, according to Amnesty International.

In the first 4 months of this year alone it has carried out 86 beheadings, 1/2 of them for non-violent crimes such as drugs offences.

There has been a surge in executions since last month, with at least 27 people executed in July alone, say Amnesty International.

Beheading remains the most common form of execution and the sentence traditionally carried out in a public square on a Friday after prayers.

Deera Square in the centre of the capital Riyadh is known locally as "Chop Chop Square".

The work maybe grim but country's chief executioner appeared to take pride in his work.

After visiting the victim's family to see if they want to forgive the prisoner, they are then taken for beheading.

"When they get to the execution square, their strength drains away," the BBC reported Muhammad Saad al-Beshi as saying.

"Then I read the execution order, and at a signal I cut the prisoner's head off.".

A recent surge in rate of executions led to ads place for an 8 executioners on the civil service jobs website.

In Saudi Arabia, the practice of "crucifixion" refers to the court-ordered public display of the body after execution, along with the separated head if beheaded.

In one case pictures on social media appearing to show 5 decapitated bodies hanging from a horizontal pole with their heads wrapped in bags.

The beheading and "crucifixion" took place in front of the University of Jizan where students were taking exams takes place in a public square to act as a deterrent.


The ability of courts to decide for themselves sentences that fit the crime has led to sentences of "qisas" or retribution.

The most high profile example was that of Ali al-Khawahir, who was 14 when stabbed a friend in the neck, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.

10 years later was sentenced to be paralysed unless he paid a million Saudi riyals to the victim.

At the time Amnesty International said the sentence was "utterly shocking" even for Saudi Arabia.

In such cases, the victim can demand the punishment be carried out, request financial compensation or grant a conditional or unconditional pardon.


Stoning remains a punishment for adultery for women in Saudi Arabia.

According to 1 witness, the accused are put into holes and then have rocks tipped on them from a truck.

In 2015 a married 45-year-old woman, originally from Sri Lanka, who was working as a maid in Riyadh, was sentenced to death by stoning.

Her partner, who was single and also from Sri Lanka, was given a punishment of 100 lashes after being found guilty of the same offence.

Eye Gouging

Abd ul-Latif Noushad, an Indian citizen, was sentenced to have his right eye gouged out in retribution for his role in a brawl in which a Saudi citizen was injured.

He worked at a petrol station and got into an altercation about a jump lead a customer wanted a refund for and in the ensuing struggle struck the other man on the head, hitting his eye.

A court of appeal in Riyadh has reportedly merely asked whether the Saudi man would accept monetary compensation instead, according to Human Rights Watch.

On September 16, 2004, the Saudi newspaper Okaz reported that a court in Tabuk ordered the right eye of Muhammad `Ayid Sulaiman al-Fadili al-Balawi to be gouged out.

The court gave him the option of paying compensation within one year and it was reported he had raised the 1.4 million riyals required.

Another Saudi newspaper, ArabNews, reported on December 6 that a court had recently sentenced an Egyptian man in to having his eye gouged.

He was accused of throwing acid in the face of another man, who subsequently lost his eyesight.


Those convicted of insulting Islam can also expect to be flogged.

In a case that has brought international condemnation, blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1000 lashes as well as 10 years behind bars.

Video shows a crowd cheering as the first 50 lashes of his sentence was carried out, an ordeal which his wife Ensaf Haidar, who says nearly killed him.

Last year a man was sentenced 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his atheism on Twitter.

The 28-year-old reportedly refused to repent, insisting what he wrote reflected his beliefs and that he had the right to express them.



Bulawayo 'serial killer' gets death sentence

BULAWAYO "serial killer" Rodney Tongai Jindu yesterday pulled another shocker when he pleaded for assisted suicide before he was eventually sentenced to death for the callous murder of 2 of his friends last year.

Jindu (27) of Glengarry suburb in the city was arrested 8 months ago in connection with the deaths of Mboneli Joko Ncube and Cyprian Kudzurunga.

He shot dead Kudzurunga (28) of Queens Park East on January 29, buried him in a shallow grave in Burnside suburb and sent a message to the deceased's mother pretending to be her son who had suddenly decided to leave the country.

He also shot Ncube and maimed his body and set the parts on fire before burying them in 4 shallow graves in Burnside.

During trial, Jindu told the court that he was sent by the devil to kill 2 of his victims and threatened to unleash the evil spirit on prosecutors.

He said when he committed the 2 murders, he was under the influence of heroin and methamphetamine (crystal meth) which created an urge for him to kill.

Jindu also confessed that he ate the pair's raw livers and cooked the brains before consuming them.

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo ignored Jindu's "unreasonable plea" when she convicted him of murder with actual intent.

In sentencing Jindu, Justice Moyo said capital punishment was the most appropriate sentence.

"The accused person is convicted of 2 counts of murder with actual intent. You killed 2 people in a space of 3 weeks. You mutilated the body of the deceased in count 1; you took away property belonging to the deceased in count 2.

He (Jindu) executed the murders meticulously by first of all carrying a gun which should have been kept at his mother's home. He then tried in a very clever way to conceal the murders by first sending text messages to the relatives of his victims as to the deceased whereabouts. He also deceived the police," she said.

Justice Moyo said Jindu then came up with a flowery story that Lucifer commanded him to murder the 2.

"He even refused to divulge intricate details of the murders hiding behind his fabricated Lucifer image. He cannot be found to be remorseful. His Lucifer version means that he is still bent on tricking the court right up to the end," she said.

Justice Moyo said Jindu committed murder with 4 aggravating features: mutilation of the deceased's body in count 1, 2 series of murders in a short space of time, pre-planning and theft of a laptop which amounts to a robbery in relation to the deceased in count 2.

"The accused played God when he decided when his 2 friends would die. He breached the trust they bestowed upon him when he decided to end their lives," she said.

Justice Moyo ruled that under the circumstances, Jindu deserved nothing else other than capital punishment.

"If the accused person does not deserve capital punishment or if he is spared capital punishment then it means the relevance of capital punishment as enshrined in our law will become meaningless," she said.

"There is no weighty mitigation that has been submitted neither has there been any glaring facts in the court record that could outweigh the meting out of capital punishment in these circumstances. It is for these reasons that the court finds that the only punishment that befits the circumstances of this case is capital punishment".

Asked if he had any reasons or objection as to why the death sentence cannot be passed on him, Jindu responded: "It's fine, it's fine, it's fine".

Justice Moyo told him that he has a right of appeal against both conviction and sentence.

As Jindu's lawyer, Mr Dixon Abraham, was presenting his mitigation, Jindu abruptly interjected and asked for assisted suicide much to the shock of his lawyer.

"My Lady, I don't mean to be disrespectful but could I get assisted suicide?" pleaded Jindu.

However, Justice Moyo quickly interjected and said he would get a chance to speak.

In mitigation, Mr Abraham appealed for a lesser sentence saying Jindu had been remorseful as he had apologised to his mother and the deceased's families.

"How does it benefit society or the court to extinguish another life?" he said.

The State represented by Chief Public Prosecutor Mrs Tariro Rosa Takuva and prosecutor Ms Nokuthaba Ngwenya pushed for the death sentence saying the murders were committed in aggravating circumstances.



Man gets death sentence for killing PKR man Bill Kayong

A 30-year-old man, accused of murdering Miri PKR secretary Bill Kayong 2 years ago, was sentenced to death by the High Court here today.

The punishment was meted out by High Court Judge P. Ravinthran after the accused, Mohamad Fitri Fauzi was found guilty of fatally shooting the native rights activist on June 21, 2016.

The offence, under Section 302 of the Penal Code, carries the mandatory death penalty.

Ravinthran also ruled that the prosecution that the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.

According to the charge sheet read by Deputy Public Prosecutor Nur Nisla Abdul Latif, Mohamad Fitri was accused of committing the offence at a traffic light junction at Jalan Miti-Kuala Baram on June 21, 2016 at 8.20am.

Bill Kayong or Mohd Hasbie Abdullah died of gun shot wounds at the scene.

4 suspects, including Mohamad Fitri and a 'Datuk', were detained since 2016 to facilitate police investigations into the murder.

3 of them were freed on June 6, last year, as there was insufficient evidence linking them to Mohamad Fitri and the crime.



Iran's Judiciary Threatens Executions for Economic 'Crimes'

Iran's senior officials are attempting to head off a looming economic crisis - triggered by the return of US sanctions - with threats of new rights-abusing policies.

Tehran's prosecutor, Jafari Dolatabadi, on Wednesday warned that importers who abuse government subsidies could be charged with "corruption on earth," which carries a possible death sentence.

Several hardliner newspapers and parliamentarians have echoed Dolatabadi's call to execute people found responsible for contributing to the country's economic instability.

After the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran, the economy is in dire straits. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the Iranian rial has lost 70 % of its value since May. Possible massive corruption will not help protect people's economic rights. Amidst these deteriorating economic conditions, Iranians have sporadically protested economic conditions, government corruption, and lack of social and political rights since late December 2017.

While Iranian officials have called on the judiciary to prosecute economic crimes, the threat of applying the death penalty is very alarming. Iran is notorious for executing people for crimes that do not meet the basic international standard of limiting capital punishment to the most serious offenses. According to Amnesty International, in 2017 alone, Iran executed at least 507 people, including those who were convicted for crimes they committed as children.

Iran has also executed several people on vague fraud charges with little transparency or due process. In 2014, authorities executed Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, a billionaire businessman at the heart of a US$2.6 billion state banking scam in Iran, without even informing his lawyer. Today, Babak Zanjani, a businessman, is on death row on charges of withholding billions in oil revenue channeled through his companies as part of Iran's efforts to evade sanctions.

The Iranian economy became increasingly non-transparent while it was under heavy international sanctions between 2010 and 2013. Today, officials increasingly talk about the need to combat corruption at every level. Yet to do so requires an independent judiciary that ensures due process rights for all those accused.

The judiciary's long record of violating detainees' rights and wanton application of the death penalty raises grave concerns. Executions, an inhumane and inherently irreversible punishment, are never the answer, and in this case can only distract from other causes of this economic turmoil.

(source: Human Rights Watch)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law

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