Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Saudi authorities have beheaded two Ethiopians convicted of killing a Saudi national in an armed robbery

Associated Press:

Saudi authorities on Wednesday beheaded two Ethiopians convicted of killing a Saudi national in an armed robbery and displayed their bodies in public after the execution, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The statement, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, said Ali Mohammed Ali and Adel Adam Aman were found guilty of fatally shooting and robbing Khaled bin Karim bin Bakhash, the owner of a private telephone services center.

A court ordered their bodies be displayed in a public place after the execution as a further deterrent "because of the hideousness nature of the crime." The statement said they were executed in Jiddah but did not say specifically where their bodies were displayed.

The process of displaying the body of an executed person is usually carried out by the executioners who fix the chopped head to the body and then either hang it from a pole or from a mosque window or balcony for about two hours during the noon prayer.

The beheaded bodies are only displayed when there is a specific court order in cases considered particularly brutal, such as committing murder during an armed robbery.

In February, the bodies of four Sri Lankans were strung up and displayed in a Saudi public square after they were beheaded for armed robbery, drawing criticism from Human Rights Watch, which said the kingdom violated international law because they men did not have lawyers.

Separately, the Interior Ministry said in another statement that a Saudi national, Jalal bin Ahmed al-Marhoun, was executed Wednesday in the northern city of al-Jawf, after being convicted of smuggling hashish into the country.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which people convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery can be executed. Beheadings are carried out with a sword in a public square.

Wednesday's executions brought to 70 the number of people, including two women, beheaded in the kingdom this year. The kingdom beheaded 38 people last year and 83 people in 2005.

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