Home Human Rights Here's What Will Get You Executed in Saudi Arabia

Here’s What Will Get You Executed in Saudi Arabia

Witchcraft, blasphemy and adultery are three of at least 16 crimes that could get you beheaded by officialdom in Saudi Arabia.

Apostasy is also on that list of 16, meaning, as per Shari’ah (or Islamic law), if a Saudi Arabian renounces his belief in the Muslim faith he could face the death penalty.

Beheading is the preferred execution method but several years ago there were reports of firing squads and stonings. According to the Death Penalty Worldwide database the condemned are sedated prior to execution.

There have been 129 executions in Saudi Arabia so far this year. In 2014 there was around 90.

See the video below from TestTube for more on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia:

As explained in the above video, under Shari’ah the death penalty can be imposed within 3 classes of criminal offense:

  • Hudud: Fixed Quranic punishments for specific crimes such as apostasy, adultery, and sodomy.
  • Qisas: Eye-for-an-eye vengeful punishment for dispute-like crimes such as murder. The victim’s families have the option of choosing between asking for the death penalty to be implemented or they instead ask for payment of blood money from the culprit.
  • Tazir: This is a broad class of crimes as defined by national regulations which can be punished by death, i.e. drug offences and witchcraft.

Amnesty International says that at least 2,208 people executed between January 1985 and June 2015.

“Forty eight percent of people executed between January 1985 and June 2015 – 1,072 people – were foreign nationals, who make up around 33 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population of approximately 30 million,” says Amnesty International. No westerners have been among those executed.

For further information how the death penalty works in Saudi Arabia see the below AJ+video:

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world, and it’s only behind Iran in the Middle East for having executed the most people annually.

The biggest executioners in the world by far is communist China where the actual figures are considered state secrets but believed to be in the thousands.

“Human rights organizations estimate that China carries out thousands of executions a year, more executions than carried out in the rest of the world. Based on estimates published in recent years, we estimate that there were at least 3,000 executions,” says the Death Penalty Worldwide database about China.

For more on the death penalty in China see the video below:

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James Burke
What keeps the world ticking? James is always looking for the answer and the latest news from around the globe. When he's not behind his computer, he's basking in the Thailand sun, or dreaming of the southern hemisphere, where he grew up in rural Australia.

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