Wednesday 18 March 2009 (22 Rabi` al-Awwal 1430) 'My pardon is a miracle,' remarks Saudi woman who murdered abusive husband Hayat Al-Ghamdi I Arab News JAZAN: A 55-year-old Saudi woman from the village of Jalah, south of Jazan, has been in prison for more than four years. Originally waiting execution for murdering her abusive husband who she married when she was 13, she was granted a royal pardon substituting capital punishment with a five-year prison term, which is to end in seven months. "My pardon is a miracle from Almighty Allah that I never expected, especially after my 11 children demanded I be executed," the woman, known by her initials M.H., told Arab News in an interview at Jazan General Prison. Under Shariah law, children cannot demand the execution of their parents for murder. It was on this basis that M.H. was granted a royal pardon. M.H. looks old and weak. She attributes this not only to her time in prison but to the difficulties she faced during her marriage with her late husband. M.H. is pleased that she was pardoned, not because it saved her from execution but because she would finally be able to see her children who have stopped visiting her. "I wanted to be executed to be purged from my sin and to meet Allah with a clean record," she said. M.H. was initially hesitant to tell her story. However, after a few minutes of gentle persuasion she agreed. Looking sad, she explained the run up to the day when she killed her husband. "It was a Thursday in the month of Shawwal 1426H (November 2005). I was sitting outside my home when a car suddenly pulled up. Inside were my son Khaled and another man, who turned out to be my brother whom I had not seen for many years and who I thought was long dead," said M.H. "My brother immediately grabbed my hand and slapped me in the face three times. He was shouting, calling me a 'whore' and saying he would discipline me for mistreating my husband. My son Khaled repeated what his uncle said and my other son Abdullah, who is a teacher, said I deserved what was happening to me and threatened to put me in a sack and take me to a mental hospital," she added. M.H.'s brother and sons gave her an ultimatum: Correct her behavior or they would take her to hospital on Saturday. "After that, they hugged each other congratulating themselves on a job well done. I came inside looking for a rifle, which I found, but it had no ammunition. When my husband saw me looking for the rifle he said I would not use it," she said. "He told me I was only bluffing and that I was a liar. He said I had been giving him empty threats for more than six years," she added. "I swallowed the humiliation, but kept something in my mind. That was the end of it, I said to myself, remembering that he had repeatedly beaten me, even breaking my arm once." Speaking about the day she shot her husband dead, M.H. said, "It was Friday, Shawwal 9, 1426AH (Nov. 11, 2006). I got up early to pray Fajr (morning prayers). I woke my husband up. He was sleeping on a separate bed in the same room. He refused to get up and sarcastically told me to pray that Allah forgives my sins." M.H. said that after a short while, when the sun rose, she opened the windows and looked at some shepherds grazing her sheep and cattle. "My husband was looking at me and suddenly asked me which of these men I desired the most. I told him they are all good but it was he who I loved. That comment of his was the straw that broke the camel's back. I grabbed the rifle, loaded it and shot him. One bullet hit his neck, the second his chest, the third hit him in the stomach and the fourth ripped his back," she said. "He fell down dead soaked in blood. My children arrived. I threw the rifle away and went to the police station where I admitted killing him." MH said she has no regrets killing her husband who mistreated her and spread rumors that she hated him and was not treating him as a husband. "Our problems started about eight years earlier. He claimed that I no longer gave him his legitimate rights as a husband. This despite the fact that we slept together, even on the Tuesday before I killed him," she said. She said she was relieved to be rid of him and was not remorseful. "I do not think of him. I do not even see him in my dreams. My only worries are my children who stopped visiting me about a year ago," she added. A mother of six boys and five daughters, MH said all of her sons are educated and that two of them are married. None of the girls are educated. She said her husband worked as a school guard for 14 years, and farmed and grazed cattle before that. "He has no relatives ... we are not related. He only had some half brothers and hardly had any communication with them," she said. MH said she felt happy talking to Arab News, the first time she had been interviewed by the press. She concluded the interview with a smile and requested her picture be taken but the prison authorities refused. Riza Saran, a female prison guard who also attended the interview, said HM was quiet and had a strong personality. She said she was the only prisoner who did not need psychological help.