Today: Wednesday
22 November 2017
29 June 2015

Punishment in Saudi Arabiya: Pardon impossible to execute

Punishment in Saudi Arabiya: Pardon impossible to execute

“Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth so you may judge between the people by that which Allah has shown you…” (Holy Quran, 4-105)

Not long time ago a woman in Saudi Arabia was convicted of the sexual abuse by a rod and murder of her seven-year-old step-daughter. The video (18+) of this woman’s public execution has been circulated on the Internet.

Apparently, the video is not for wimps. The accused was beheaded in the middle of the motorway.

A woman screamed her innocence right up until the last seconds before an executioner’s sword fell for the third time, beheading her for killing her husband’s daughter. Most of the comments on YouTube and Russian LiveJournal are: “This is barbarism!”, “They are wild” and so on.

It might seem that such punishment is not unfair with regard to the horrible crime committed by the accused. Everything is done accordingly – the criminal is punished for the performed act of appalling violence.

Yet, there are some issues in this case which cannot be ignored. They leave such literal compliance with the Sharia in doubt. First of all, it is worth noting that the name of the beheaded woman is Layla bint Abdul Mutaleb Bassim. She is originally from Burma. According to the UN reports into torture, the capital punishment in Saudi Arabia is more often used towards females, the poor and the migrants from Africa and Asia. It is also worth mentioning that as a rule, the verdict is pronounced based on the results of a secret lawsuit. Also, the convicted are not likely to seek professional legal advice. The guilty verdict is normally established on the ground of confessionary statements which seem to be made by tortures and deception of the convicted. So, the punishment is directed towards the most vulnerable segments of the population of Saudi Arabia. With regard to the case under discussion, there is no information as far as the lawsuit and the witnesses are concerned.

I should specify that I do not aim at defending the beheaded woman. Allah ordered in the Holy Quran: “…And if you judge, judge between them with justice…” (5/42). Yet, keeping in mind the nature of the process in the kingdom and the information vacuum characteristic of this case, we can only speculate as to the lawsuit against Layla bint Abdul Mutaleb Bassim was impartial and met the Sharia requirements or not.

Interestingly enough, the United Stated Department of State did not react to the case at all. As opposed to this, the situation in Donbas, where the Ukrainian army kills hundreds of civilians and destroys the civil infrastructure, gives occasion to the introduction of sanctions against Russia. Bashar Assad is considered to be the main evildoer in Syria. He resists the militants brought by the Western finances and has a groundswell. If we ignore Islamic laws and follow democratic principles only, the following question arises: why does not Washington introduce sanctions against Saudi Arabia where such barbaric ways of taking people’s life are enshrined in law? Obviously, it is due to the fact that Riyadh is the strongest ally of the United States in the region. This is why the human rights organisations have nothing to do but keep silent and close their eyes to the medieval methods of punishment.

The media boom around the idea that Islam in Russia is brought up by the intelligence services is rooted in misunderstanding of one simple truth that Islam is based on the concept of justice. Blackening the traditional Islam in Russia comes either from the incredible stupidity or the urge to give an account of the expenditures to the foreign sponsors. Islam is a system which maintains the balance of public, personal and state interests. With regard to this, Islamic Sharia corresponds to the laws of the secular state like Russia. Yet, this does not refer to Saudi Arabia as regrettably, in this country, Islam is used formally with the purpose of ensuring legitimacy of the ruling dynasty power in the Muslim world.


Observer