Saudi Arabia: Who is Abdullah Al-Bishi

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His name may not be widely known or recognized. Abdullah Al-Bishi is a Saudi national who inherited the position as an executioner from his father. Yes; this is one of the men who have learned the art of beheading. He is an executioner for Makkah and his son, Badr, has been accepted in the same kind of profession in Riyadh. I find it interesting that here are three consecutive generations who not only have chosen but take pride in their position and the skill required to conduct (execute) a clean execution.

Saudi Arabia uses public beheading as the punishment for murder, rape, drug trafficking, sodomy, armed robbery, apostasy and certain other offences.  2007 has been the record year for executions with 153 men and three women executed. Forty five men and two women were beheaded in 2002, a further 52 men and 1 woman in 2003 and 35 men and a woman in 2004.  Executions rose in 2005 with 88 men and 2 women being beheaded and then reduced to 35 men and four women in 2006.
The condemned of both sexes are given tranquillisers and then taken by police van to a public square or a car park after midday prayers. Their eyes are covered and they are blindfolded. The police clear the square of traffic and a sheet of blue plastic sheet about 16 feet square is laid out on the ground.
Dressed in their own clothes, barefoot, with shackled feet and hands cuffed behind their back, the prisoner is led by a police officer to the centre of the sheet where they are made to kneel facing Mecca. An Interior Ministry official reads out the prisoner’s name and crime to the crowd.
Saudi Arabia uses a traditional Arab scimitar which is 1000-1100 mm long. The executioner is handed the sword by a policeman and raises the gleaming scimitar, often swinging it two or three times in the air to warm up his arm muscles, before approaching the prisoner from behind and jabbing him in the back with the tip of the blade, causing the person to raise their head. (see photo) Then with a single swing of the sword the prisoner is decapitated.
Normally it takes just one swing of the sword to sever the head, often sending it flying some two or three feet. Paramedics bring the head to a doctor, who uses a gloved hand to stop the fountain of blood spurting from the neck. The doctor sews the head back on, and the body is wrapped in the blue plastic sheet and taken away in an ambulance. Burial takes place in an unmarked grave in the prison cemetery.
Beheadings of women did not start until the early 1990’s, previously they were shot.  Forty three women have been publicly beheaded up to the end of 2007.
Most executions take place in the three major cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dahran. Saudi executioners take great pride in their work and the post tends to be handed down from one generation to the next.

Beheading is as humane as any modern method of execution if carried out correctly and a single blow is sufficient to decapitate the prisoner. Consciousness is probably lost within 2-3 seconds, due to a rapid fall of the “intracranial perfusion of blood” (blood supply to the brain). The person dies from shock and anoxia due to haemorrhage and loss of blood pressure within less than 60 seconds. However, because the muscles and vertebrae of the neck are tough, decapitation may require more than one blow. Death occurs due to separation of the brain and spinal cord, after the transection (cutting through) of the surrounding tissues, together with massive haemorrhage.
It has often been reported that the eyes and mouths of the decapitated have shown signs of movement. It has been calculated that the human brain has enough oxygen stored for metabolism to persist for about 7 seconds after the head is cut off.

Beheading requires a skilled headsman if it is to be at all humane and not infrequently, several blows were required to sever the head. It took three blows to remove Mary Queen of Scot’s head at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587.  In Britain, beheadings were carried out by the “common hangman” and were relatively rare so he had very little practice or experience, which often led to unfortunate consequences.
Saudi executioners pride themselves on their skill and efficiency with the scimitar.
The prisoner is usually blindfolded so that they do not see the sword or axe coming and move at the crucial moment. Again, this is why in both beheading and guillotining it was not unusual for an assistant to hold the prisoner’s hair to prevent them moving.
In any event, the results are gory in the extreme as blood spurts from the severed arteries and veins of the neck including the aorta and the jugular vein.
All the European countries that previously used beheading have now totally abolished the death penalty.

The following video has a candid interview with one of Saudi’s executioners, Abdullah Al-Bishi:

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148 Responses

  1. Waw! Hefty bedu!
    I think it’s disgusting! everything about it! The publicness of it, the manner (don’t like the americans either with their ridiculous electric chair and stupid injections)
    the frequency
    I think it’s a disgrace to any country to have these deathsentences, and a public admittance of bad government and bad aducation of their citizens!

  2. but would you say it is indeed effective in deterring crime?

  3. No
    there are lots of public executions for years yeah? and actually increasing? seems pretty clear it doesn’t work to me…

  4. ofcourse in KSA that doesn’t really mean anything. Could also be the result of a flu-epedemic, a shortage of Viagra supplies or anything which gave the ”judges” a bad day, and inspired them to more ridiculous verdicts as they normally allready inflict on the suppressed Saudi populace…

    Or, as i suspect on the even more suppressed expat populace, because I have a silent suspicion that an expat (from a poor Asian country) will feel the blade a lot sooner as a more worthwhile Saudi…

  5. Actualyy dr Guillotine invented the guillotine to reduce suffering and make sure there can be no failure in chopping the head off the firt time, but then Humanity is not the first concern in the Kingdom of ”Humanity”…

    What an utterly disgusting video, the insensitivity of all involved, I don’t mean the executioner so much: it’s clear he was allready brainwashed into insensitivity at a very young age, but the moderators, the smiling faces while asking the most revolting questions! I am shocked by the callousness and insensitivity of all involved. It becomes more and more clear to me that the whole of Saudi Society and the upbringing of young saudi children and the rules of marriage, and éverything has one goal: to make people braindead, to harden their hearts, and to make everybody a mindless, senseless, greedy, heartless zombie.

    No wonder such a sick and putrid society has so many crimes committed which warrant a death sentence.

    Saudi Arabia is making itself into hell’s purgatory. Shaytaan is making great progress in KSA, more than any other country on the planet, except perhaps Afganistan and Pakistan.

  6. In the long history of “humane” executions of prisoners (including Dr Guillotine’s invention) there have always been failings of each method, including hanging (neck fails to break, prisoner doesn’t quite strangulate, rope breaks), beheadings by whatever method (multiple cuts needed) the electric chair (partially grilled prisoners), and the injections (not enough meds, some working others not).

    I understood that in Saudi the prisoners were not only tranquillized and blindfolded, but also they were siphoned of alot of blood prior, to reduce bleeding and pain perception, and hasten death.

    If one must have a death penalty perhaps it is best it be left to well trained professionals who take pride in their work. The Dr tasked with sewing the head back on would be an interesting person to interview.
    What type of specialized training is required? Is this your fulltime practice? How did you choose this area of medicine? Is your son following in your footsteps? What type of suture material and stitch do you use?

    I’m not sure of the statistics on deterrence but I’m more concerned about wrongful convictions, the types of crimes that result in the death penalty, abuse of judicial power, a corrupt judiciary, loss of lives that could be rehabilitated etc. Capital punishment in itself is not a reliable deterrent but public punishments may be more so–though not completely effective since they continue.

    Of the countries that still have capital punishment only 3 are developed countries Japan, Singapore, and the US. Otherwise the company death penalty supporters keep includes the following who had executions in 2007:

    Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Botswana, China, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, USA, Vietnam, Yemen.

    From Amnesty International: “As of December 2008 … more than two thirds of the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

    Of the 59 retentionist countries, only 24 are known to have carried out executions in 2007. Eighty eight percent of all known executions took place in five countries: China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the USA.”

    Except for US the others are probably under reporting their numbers and in China there is active imposition of the death penalty for income from the organ donation trade (China sells cadaver organs from prisoners who provide the most readily available and physically well supply).

    This is an interesting and compelling topic, if a difficult and somewhat macabre topic.

    One final thought–the “Right to Life” people who oppose abortion are also the most likely to support the death penalty.

  7. I agree with Aafke, executions have not deterred crime. As an example, Saudi has implemented the death penalty for drug smuggling. Drug availability and issues have been in the increase in the country.

    Additionally, the justice system cannot be trusted in handing out good verdicts. There is a huge problem with defense representation, evidence collection, qualified judges, etc. The death penalty carries a finality with it and I just do not like the concept of some of the judges with low education handing out these sentences. If you google Saudi death sentences you will encounter a large number of articles of teenagers being condemned and even cases of accidental death resulting in a person being executed.

    Another issue is the concept of blood money. Which puts poor people at a disadvantage in receiving such sentences. It is not an accident that a foreign national from a third world country is more likely to receive a death sentence in Saudi than others.

    And finally the idea of public execution is revolting. It becomes like a show with spectators and produces a social thrust for it with some people. There are Saudi’s that follow executions like a spectator sport. In others it is meant to intimidate and enforce the power of the government over its subjects. The costume worn by the executioner in the video is a reminder of the power of the Saudi Bedu warriors that concurred the country and serves as a reminder of their power. The public executions are also not restricted. Even children are allowed to watch them. I saw my only execution in Taif when I was 9 -10 years old on a dare. It was a scary scene for a child. There was no protection for me not to see it, I was out playing with my friends after the Friday prayer, when the ambulance and police cars showed up. The formed the typical circle and executed the man.

    I am not totally against the death penalty, I just see that there are too many unresolved issues with it in Saudi and in many other countries. With no studies proving their effectiveness, why even have them.

  8. PS I thought the video was very CNNish, including the moderators’ appearance and attitudes, and the use of high tech screens and technology to discuss the most traditional of practices (capital punishment by beheading by sword).

    I hope my own disapproval of the practice of capital punishment came through in my somewhat ironic longer comment (I have looked into this quite a bit before).

  9. Saudi in US–thanks for sharing your perspective and experience from inside the Kingdom.

  10. I find the idea of execution appalling. There are limited cases where it is acceptable. I look at the states in the US that execute criminals and I don’t any evidence that it has brought down crime. The states with lower crime rates don’t execute criminals and most haven’t done so in years.

    I needn’t comment on the Saudi death penatly directly except to notice that Saudi Arabia does not have a very transparent justice system.

  11. I am going to throw up. Such a horrifying post. And heartbreaking. Love your blog but can’t take the truth on this one(:

  12. The system is completely unfair and corrupt from top to bottom. We dont have a perfect system here in the USA, but it is leaps and bounds better than what is on display in Saudi.

    http://www.humriht-civsocsa.org/news.php?action=show&id=50

  13. i do not approve of the death penalty in any way, shape, or form. i don’t care how humane it is. by definition, it is inhumane. i do think, however, it maybe ok by islamic definition. it is not in christianity. ironic, of course, since, as Chiara said, many bible-thumpers here in the US are completely behind it…

  14. Seriously?

    That article……whew….

    Only the most die-hard Pennsic fans would get a kick out of that one.

  15. Every Saudi whom I have spoken to who has seen a public execution by intent or being in the wrong place at the right time has told me how the scene continues to haunt them today. It makes you wonder about those who choose to go and see an execution just because…

    I am expecting this post to hit a chord with many but I also believe in being fair in presenting all aspects of life in the Kingdom. Presently public executions continue to be one aspect of the many faces of life in the Kingdom.

  16. When I was around 10 years old, the arrest and trial of Adolf Eichmann was big news. Along with the current story, they news reports showed the back story which included lots of dead bodies. At the time, I found those images frightening, so I wonder how disturbing it is to see a live execution, especially for young children.

  17. Bedu, I congratulate you for having the courage to approach a subject that is very much a part of Saudi society, yet horrifying to most people who read this. I confess to feeling queazy while reading this post.

    I am not opposed to the death penalty. In fact, I think it could be applied more often and more frequently for cold-blooded killers in any society, criminals who kill again willingly, whose sociopathic orientation cannot be changed, because they lack a basic ingredient usually inherent in the human personality.

    However, methods are another matter, as are the injustices that drag the whole subject into the quicksand of human depravity, which, ironically, is the condition being addressed in the first place.

  18. If somebody hurt my mama like that, I’d only want him dead.

    And if the King doesn’t do it for me, I’ll do it my self.

    Sure, capital punishments are tough, but not everyone can move on with their lives knowing their loved ones were raped or murdered and the perpetrator walked with “life” or “momentary insanity”.

    It’s not a crime control for the criminals, it’a pacifier for the family of the victims.

    ============

    On the other hand…

    Bedu, I’m sure I share this opinion with a lot of your readers, and you probably already know this, but this post made my blog walking day.

    Every time my “thinking cap” is on, whether it’s about dating tips in Saudi, or what’s right about child marriages, or tattooing boobs, are in a a lot of ways credited to your inspirational writing.

    I won’t go against the mainstream about capital punishments today. Today it’s about you.

    Thank you for writing.

  19. Carol,

    When I went to one of my high school reunions, years ago, some of my classmates asked me how I could live in a country that had this sort of punishment. I felt the same way when I first arrived in KSA as well.

    Even though I don’t like this kind of punishment, I do think that it is much safer in Saudi Arabia because of it. When I go back to the states, I constantly read about murders that happen on a daily basis. So, in a way, we have our own ‘executioners’ out walking the streets.

    I never knew all these details about it. Very disturbing.

    .

  20. Doesnt matter how you execute your criminals…it does absolutely nothing towards deterring potential future criminals…otherwise those potential future criminals would never get past the “I wonder if I could get away with….?” thought process.

    Considering people in Saudi know two things….number one…the justice system is not very transparent and your life means nothing if the judge your in front of you prefers “old style” punishment…secondly…there is ample proof these punishments are meted out…so why even go there?

    Forcing citizens to watch beheadings as some sort of deterrant does nothing to prevent future criminal acts either…other wise Saudi would be one of the safest and crime free countries in the world…funny enough…it isnt. Go figure.

    Just a question….if people are getting beheaded for those crimes listed above…whens the last time a “royal” was beheaded…for I do know they have participated in such activities themselves on occasion…or are avoiding beheadings also based on wasta….sigh.

  21. Quite frankly I’m still on the fence when it comes to capital punishment. My main concern is the imperfection of the judicial system (not just in Saudi) that passes the death sentence. Even the smallest possibility that an innocent might be killed for a crime he/she didn’t commit is a more horrifying thought (for me) than the actual deed.

  22. Saudi Jawa, I agree with you on the imperfections of judicial systems and what if the judge made a wrong decision? As happens all the timein any court all over the world?

    Miriam Mac, I don not want to be unfriendl;y to you but I find your reasoning completely unreal. America is a violent gunhappy nation. Yes, there are many murders in America, but you have only to step over the border to Canada, and you are in a completely different atmosphere, Murders, and shootings are as rare in Canada as in the Netherlands.

    We don’t havethe death penalty, and yet we don’t have people murdered on the street every day.
    Ok we had lately, we had Pim Fortuyn murdered on the street by a muslim nutter, and we had Theo van Gogh, also murdered on the street by a muslim nutter, but aside from muslim nutters, on the whole, murder is pretty rare in the Netherlands…

    And is murder so rare in saudi Arabia? I heard crossing a member of the royal family can be pretty unhealthy? and what about girls dissappearing after they have been raped, or allegedly had an ”affair”? What about a score of young people with very mysterious illnesses dying in unexplaned ways?
    I am thinking of Hadeel, who died most strangely and nobody seems to be bothered by it?

  23. I agree with Aafke and Chiara–Look at all the things besides
    rape and murder one can be put to death for in Saudi–like in the US it seems to me that the most fundamentalist religions are the most slaughter-happy at one end while screaming “only God can take a life” at the other. Study after study has proven that the death penalty is not a deterrent, let alone
    the whole fair trial issue. Apostasy? What is this the dark ages?

  24. What is the history of the Netherlands in the slave trade?

  25. I don’t find the death penalty public beheadings wrong at all, it’s just that the justice system requires reform.

    Wether capital punishment deters crime or not is up to debate but simply paying thousands of dollars of state money to feed,cloth and protect convicted murders,rapists and drug dealers for the rest of their lives when that money could go somewhere more useful seems silly to me.

    @coolred: no one is “forcing” anyone to watch beheadings. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.

    @Aafke: If you can’t provide accurate statistics, then don’t even bother accusing people based on what you “heard”.

    Infact, Saudi Arabia has very low rates of homicide and violent crime but a higher rate of non violent crime (Confidence schemes, pickpocketing..ect.) The total number of homicides in Saudi Arabia is only slightly higher than the Netherlands and if you take per capita then Saudi Arabia edges out Holland.

  26. “but you have only to step over the border to Canada, and you are in a completely different atmosphere, Murders, and shootings are as rare in Canada as in the Netherlands.”
    Hello Aafke, I think you need to take a detailed look at crime statistics before making that blanket statment.

    In Minnesota (where I lived) the murder rate in 2008 was 2.2 per 100,000, in Canada as a whole the rate is 1.9 per 100,000. Not so very different (stats taken from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Canada) . The murder rate in the Netherlands is a bit lower at about 1 per 100,000.

  27. Crime in the Netherlands may be low because drug use is so high, even absinthe, which was reportedly banned in 1909 or so – though it’s still manufactured and available in some places.

    Canada too has its challenges:

    http://www.ccsa.ca/Eng/Statistics/Canada/GHAS/Pages/default.aspx

    Crime rate statistics may be contingent upon other societal ills, lessening in some areas, but increasing in others along with its health issues.

  28. Mohanned S. don’t be silly, you know very well there are no trustworthy statistics coming out of Saudi Arabia, anyway, I don’t think that’s really germain to the issue. The point I was making is that countries like Saudi Arabia, and the US, who both execute people, are not by any means countries where you can be assured your life is safe.
    Actually Saudi Arabia’s demented justice system itself is a murderous entity in my opinion. You only have to consider the virtual death penalty of 40 lashes, 4 months prison anddeportation of a very old widow who did nothing wrong at all, or the 200 leashes meted out at the victim of a gangrape, or the women who are condemned to deathon the ridiculous, insane , and demented charge of witchraft!!!!!!!!!

    Please!!!!!! I consider the Saudi ”justice”-system itself as a crazed homicidal maniac!

  29. “@coolred: no one is “forcing” anyone to watch beheadings. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

    Mohammed S

    Funny you should say this because I have personally heard many many people tell me that when its time for beheadings…the police (muttawa?) go around literally herding people towards the beheading area to force them to watch….Ive been here in Bahrain 23 years and Ive heard this time and again…too many times to count…so not sure where your getting your info from.

  30. I don’t want to be harsher on KSA than is necessary. The US had public executions 150 years ago, lynching were common in parts of the US only 70 years ago. What is different is that our system of justice had at least some transparency. When I watched the video and heard the swordsman say he was carrying out ‘Allah’s’ justice, I was appalled. Whatever kind of justice it is, it isn’t from God. All laws are man-made, Sharia is simply clerical interpretation of various texts. Whether those texts are valid or not is not the issue, the effort create a body of law from these texts was all done by fallible humans.

    You cannot run a modern wealthy society without a legal system that isn’t fair too all. It took the West a long time to develop laws that were fair to all (and the process isn’t completed). If you look at the stories that make the papers, you see that so many involve people who don’t have legal status in Saudi Arabia. Muslims seem to value justice but looking at the law in Saudi Arabia one doesn’t see any sign of a desire for justice for non-Saudi (even non-Saudi Muslims).

  31. I, too, heard (in Riyadh) that anyone near the center of the action is herded to the forefront, especially women. I don’t know if it is true; I never wanted to test the claim.

    As for detering crime, I don’t think that is the purpose of the death penalty. The purpose is to punish the offender, who, incidentally, will not be able to repeat the crime.

  32. @Aafke: And that is your response? That my statistics are wrong and your hearsay is right?

    And no one has ever been condemned to death on witchcraft or sorcery charges. Check your info.

    @Coolred:

    So your source of information is Hearsay you acquired from a neighboring country? That is inadequate proof.

    For example, I’ve lived many years in Saudi Arabia and I’ve heard that the Jews are secretly running the world countless times so it must be true!

  33. No…I acquired that information from Saudis themselves who I have met…along with Bahrainis etc that have been in Saudi at the time of a beheading…

    why the hell would I need to offer up proof…its not like thats unlikely story from one or two people who might have witnessed a beheading…its one Ive heard many many times…all those people were wrong…and one Mohammed S is right? Good for you.

    btw the Jews are running the world…but not so secretly ;)

  34. Susan, Speechless at your childish simplicity, Can you get any more superficial? Yeah the Dutch were amongst those nations who transported African slaves 300 years ago Duuuhhh, what’s that to do with justice, deathsentences in the 21-st century???
    Please, if you can’t do better than these cheap infantile attacks keep quiet.
    As if the Dutch, or some of the Dutch, haven’t done other stuff more recently which is very questionable indeed…
    Anyway, given that all humans suck in my opinion, the Dutch as a nation haven’t done at all bad from an humanitarian point of view over the centuries…
    Certainly way, way, better than the Saudi Arabia which you worship so much. :roll:

    And your next ”attack” I have to put it into brackets becasue it’s really shaking at all corners…
    Absinthe isn’t nearly as dangerous as people mistakenly think, it’s most dangerous ingredient is alcohol….
    And what of it?
    Drugs use. Only Americans think we the Dutch walk around in a constand blue mariuana haze… :roll:
    The actual facts are, as all informed, independant scientists all over the world will attest, that the Dutch approach to drugs is currently the most succesfull.
    The distinction we make between hard- and soft-drugs has decreased the use of hard drugs significantly, and the use of softdrugs is actually significantly lower, especially amongst young people, as in other countries.
    The American ”War on Drugs” is totally ineffectual, as the officers involved have admitted pubicly.
    And I’m sure AbuSinan will be happy to provide you wit information about drug and alcohol use in KSA, as well as the fact that illegal alcohol was actually brewed in Meccah right under the holy mosque.
    And I don’t even want to begin about the exesses Saudis like to indulge in when abroad.

    So let me recapulate, The Dutch:
    -Don’t have the Death Penalty. Have very few murders. The most public of those done by muslim nutters.
    -Have a very effective way of dealing with the universal phenomenon of drug use.
    -Are quite healthy
    -are very open, supporting, welcoming and accomodating to refugees, foreigners, visitors, allow everybody freedom in religion, even speak one or more foreign languages
    -Have a history which taken on the whole stands out very positively in a humanistic view, from other countries on the planet.

    So what is your point?

  35. @Mohamad,

    I am sad to say that Saudi did sentence people to death for witchcraft. There was a case last year that created another one of those international press waves. Of course the Commission was involved in catching and interrogating this witch. Which means she received the most advances and sophisticated investigative techniques to uncover her witchery. You can google this case and find many articles easily on topic.

    Saudi Arabia continues to hurt its reputation with these strange cases almost every months.

  36. Hoorah Aafke. This is the 21st century and playing the historical fingerpointing game seems a little pointless.
    I guess the President of Sudan would have his arguments for genocide at this point but finally the UN had the courage to
    say “this is wrong” If Sudan had Saudi’s oil that might not have happened. But not all Americans think alike for sure!
    And thank heaven for that– otherwise we would not have
    Barack Obama as president.
    And you are totally right about the Dutch approach to drugs
    (however how that compares with public beheadings
    is beyond me) and the medical establishment in the US agrees with Aafke.

  37. From ”Human Rights Watch”
    *In 1997, Human Rights Watch examined the case of Abd al-Karim Mara’i al-Naqshabandi, who was executed after being convicted of practicing witchcraft against his employer. The organization concluded that the Saudi legal system “fails to provide minimum due process guarantees and offers myriad opportunities for well-connected individuals to manipulate the system to their advantage.”*

  38. That last link is the best one.

  39. Sirius, thank you. :) I loved your sentence: *playing the historical fingerpointing game seems a little pointless.* :D Like I said: what’s the point :mrgreen:

    Saudi in US, my last link provides a detailed description of that case and how the lady was ”treated” by the CPVPV, and how the ”justice”-system handled the case.

    I’m not even talking about being ”for” or ”against”, but any Justice-system which is só utterly disfunctional as the Saudi Judiciary is, has no rights whatsoever to mete out any punishments at all!

  40. BIsmillaah

    Assalaamu Alaikum!

    “Is then he who is a believer like him who is a Faasiq (disbeliever and disobedient to Allaah)? Not equal are they”

    [Quran al-Sajdah 32:18].

    It is a call to abolish the ruling on apostasy, and to openly flaunt the principles of kufr and heresy. It is a call to open the door to everyone who wants to criticize Islam or the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and to have the freedom to criticize and express oneself with no restrictions.

    These are corrupt principles. Even if they suit their lives, values and religion, they do not suit us and they are contrary to our pure sharee’ah, which brought rulings that are suited to individuals and societies, and establish noble morals, and protect minds, honour, physical well being and wealth, and show people the religion which Allaah loves and is pleased with.

    Article 3 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person?

    It is from this Article of the United States Consitution that the calls of ‘human rights’ organizations come to protect criminals against execution, and started to give bad publicity to the nations which carry out the hadd punishments of Allaah by stoning married adulterers and executing bandits and those who spread mischief in the land. Now these organizations proudly claim that they have convinced many nations to abolish the death penalty for killers, rapists and criminals. This is contrary to sound human nature, reason and sharee’ah, and it is a message that gives peace of mind to those criminals that their lives will never be lost because of their deeds, which is a way of spreading mischief on earth.

    They claim that the individual has the right to life and liberty, even if it is a bestial life, and even if that freedom leads to corruption, sicknesses and loss of security for the family and society?

    To sum up, what these actual ‘human rights’ organizations promote: is that man should be able to do whatever he wants, no matter how perverse. They support lesbians, homosexuals and bisexuals, and religious deviance. They regard it as a human right to disbelieve in whatever religions one wants and to express one’s opinion – even about the Prophets – without any fear or shame, and they also support the liberation of woman from the control of her father, husband or religion.

    It is worth noting that these organizations are used for political purposes to put pressure on the Muslim states that care about virtue, modesty and morals, or that apply all or some of the rulings of sharee’ah. Some Muslim nations have abolished the death penalty, and they have introduced strict laws about marriage at an early age for both genders, but they pay attention to woman’s rights to khula’ and maintenance, etc, which causes widespread mischief and evil in many areas of life.

    So whose morale do you follow? At the end of the day you have to admit you are just following your own personal perceptions of what is right and what is wrong.

    We, Muslims follow the morale and laws of God not our own birdbrained ideas on what morale and laws should be.

  41. Halimah, The problem is that not everyone agrees with you.
    Even many Muslims don’t agree with you on some of the
    things that you believe. So you think people should be put to
    death for not agreeing with you? Maybe all these “religious”
    people who are frantic to impose their views on everyone
    should have a little more faith in God. If he is as powerful
    as you all think he is I think he can take care of himself!

  42. Read this piece with difficulty. Although your writing was perfect the content was hard to read :-) . You’re a brave woman and hats off to you writing about this controversial topic. personally i don’t agree with death sentences. nothing to do with facts/figures etc., just simply because it’s a form of punishment that cannot be reversed. Yes i agree that lots of people deserve to die. But if someone were to commit a horrific crime against my family i don’t want them to die quickly , i want him/her to live a long long time in solitary confinement and suffer for the rest of his/her life in person with no option to get out. Agreed that this may not be possible or practical, but we cna wish can’t we .
    We cannot bring back from the dead hence cannot kill. yes murderer don’t think that , but do we really need to stoop to their level. Just my opinion, I’d rather see the criminal rot in jail then die easily.

  43. Haalima bint David, please I have seen/heard this salafi-crap over and over, you are not original you are very boring.
    May I remind you that Allah is merciful and most forgiving?
    I suggest you take that as your guiding light, and desist your boring arrogant copied comments.
    And what’s up with the Bishmallahs??? Who made you the ”Voice of God”????
    Your arrogance and delusions are food for a psyciatrist. I suggest you seek out some professional help asap.

    PS I have denouced your nefarious, evil fraud to swindle money from compassionate true believing people on my blog.

  44. Radha, you haven’t been around these nutters enough, there’s nothing accomplished about her writing: it’s all paste copy.
    Anyway, she is a fraud she poses as a salafi to create credibillity for her money making schemes.

  45. @halimah bint david — “They regard it as a human right to disbelieve in whatever religions one wants ”

    don’t you?

    this is not so much disbelieve as beleive, I believe in hinduism, is that wrong? . does that mean i disbelieve islam? no . All it means is that i choose to worship a higher power in whichever form i’m confortable in. if this is one of the “RIGHTS” that the human rights’ organizations promote than i’m so glad and thankfuly they are there.
    they may have their faults and i’m not debating everything you wrote, just this one particular point. Tolerence towards all religious faiths is what makes us human, All religions teach us right form wrong , they just do it in different ways.

  46. “They regard it as a human right to disbelieve in whatever religions one wants ”
    Yes, Halleema bint Ghashash, and so does Allah, remember? ”There’s no compulsion in religion”
    If you were a true Muslima you’d know that one.

  47. I am against capital punishment anywhere AND I am ashamed of the Saudi practice. How can anyone, with all the proof of criminals wrongly charged through modern DNA testing, not to mention wasta, corruption and bribery condone the killing of human beings. If you are religious, you should believe that punishment will be done by God/Allah/Yaweh.
    Furthermore, most religious people learn grace amd forgiveness.

  48. Halimah

    Nobody here is criticizing Islam or the prophet….where did that come from?

    As usual…any discussion about Saudi practice is quickly brought into the realm of religious speak…and therefore off limits to critisizm and critique…meanwhile very little of what goes on in that country is mandated by God…

  49. Interesting comments from all. Some thoughts:

    My understanding, from Western social acquaintances who have worked in Saudi, is that it is best to steer very clear of “chop chop square” because otherwise you will be herded into the observing crowd, and pushed to the front. Such experiences are usually traumatizing (cause nightmares, flashbacks, unwanted memories, etc.).

    As usual, American Bedu has been able to enlighten even where I thought I had a fair bit of knowledge, and now I am stuck on the Dr who sews the head back on–him (assuming this is still a male only specialty), his technique, and the existential theological significance. I am assuming the purpose is Islamic respect for the integrity of the body so that proper burial can take place, and the prisoner can then meet justice as meted out by Allah (not by earthly judicial law). If anyone else knows more please feel free to enlighten me further.

    The failure of capital punishment to be a significant deterrent independent of other factors sealed my disapproval of the practice, whatever the method–although some judicial systems are more fair than others, and some methods more “humane” than others (that fine English tradition of Drawing, Hanging, Quartering, and Gibbetting didn’t finally stop until after 1803).

    There are always wrongful convictions which was my original reason for disapproving of capital punishment. Canada, despite having a relatively good judicial system (English based, with Napoleonic civil law in Quebec), has had a spate of wrongful convictions–including more recent ones, but most notably Steven Truscott.

    Steven Truscott was tried in adult court in 1959, and sentenced to death by hanging at the age 14 for the rape and murder of a classmate–while the known recidivist sexual offender in the vicinity went free. After time on death row, his sentence was commuted, and he was eventually released on parole in 1969. The combined efforts of investigative journalists, social activists, and lawyers resulted in his acquittal in 2007 after living almost 30 years as a model citizen under an assumed name.
    Wiki does a good job on this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Truscott

    Statistics are the stuff of truthiness. I’ll just say that crime rates in Minnesota–with its relatively homogenous stable population of 5 million in a large sufficiently prosperous land–are most likely not representative of the national stats. No matter how the stats are compiled internationally the US has the highest no. of homicides and violent armed assaults of any comparably developed nation. Canada has much lower homicide rates, thanks to gun laws mainly, and higher assault rates thanks to including assaults with no weapon (other than fists) in their assaults stats.

    It is debatable whether capital punishment or life imprisonment without parole is the worst the earthly judicial system can do. Along with all the other potential reasons for a miscarriage of justice that have been mentioned, just plain human error will always be a factor. In addition, what constitutes a capital offense is evolving and debatable (high crimes vs misdemeanors).

    Gun laws and DNA evidence–a great start towards reducing homicide and wrongful convictions!! :)

    Now about that Dr who sews the head back on… :mrgreen:

  50. Wow my comment at 6:37pm was based on the last previous one I was aware of at 5:17pm!! That’ll teach me to get some work done between starting and finishing a comment!

    So, some further thoughts:

    In defense of the Dutch from pointless, unrelated, thread hijacking themes:
    As slave traders–initially poor showing faced with Spanish/Portuguese monopoly; eventually after falling to the Spanish in 1585 made a brilliant showing (top Europeans) through their Amsterdam based East-West Indias Companies; abolition laws 1814/1818/1819 (after the Canadas, before the Brits and the US).
    As bioethicists including drug treatment–outstanding

    Radha and Mariam–excellent comments thanks

    Aafke–I think Radha was referring to American Bedu’s post, rather than Halimah’s comment–otherwise enlightening as usual. :mrgreen:

    “Witches” have been proven historically to be defined as different from the norm whether suffering from mental illness, epilepsy, just holding different beliefs, or just being disliked by the neighbours. Usually a combination of public hysteria and the politics of the judiciary results in conviction and punishment.

    Humans by definition do not have the insight and capacities of a divine judiciary, which is why Islamic law and justice are evolving and perfectible.

    In the spirit of tossing in totally irrelevent issues how about Pope B and the condoms! [I sincerely hope no one addresses this here] :D

  51. No form of execution is humane. So the method is not particularly material. Although I would agree some are more in-humane than others but none is humane. The best is probably that which gets it over absolutely the quickest with minimal pain but its still not humane.

    As for its deterring crime it probably does actually but does it deter it enough to justify its cruelty? I think that is the real question. Jails most likely deter crime does capital punishment deter any more than a long prison sentence?

    No deterrent will stop all crime thats likely impossible but laws do deter some crimes so the question is about appropriate balance not all or nothing.

    Personally the biggest problem with capital punishment is its permanence. Judges and juries are all fallible. Its likely many innocent people have been sentence to death and once the execution is over ‘oops my mistake’ doesn’t seem to cut it.

    In the US in Illinois the governor of the state put a moratorium on capital punishment once it was proven beyond any doubt that half of the people on death row could not have committed the crimes they were convicted of!

    There is really no positive anything in any of this.

  52. To Chiara,

    When I mentioned Minnesota statistics it was in response to a comment that suggested if you go accross the border from the US the crime rates magically drop. Well, in truth they don’t. The rates in Ontario are lower than MN and Manitoba is higher.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Canada

    Ontario 1.5
    Manitoba 3.3

    Oddly enough in the US the crime belt almost mirrors the Bible Belt.

    I applaud the Canadians for having sensible gun laws.

  53. Funny that Susan, who seems willing to defend anything that happens in Saudi, mentions slavery.

    Is she away that slavery existed until reletively recently in Saudi Arabia? More exactly, it wasnt outlawed until 1962.

    As a matter of fact, the former Ambassador to the US, his mother was a slave of his royal father at the time of his conception.

    Anyway, Saudi looses on both points.

    I also find it interesting that Mohammad slams Aafke for not having the facts when it turns out HE was completely wrong on the subject.

    Got to love it. Keep going Aafke!

    Having spent a lot of time in Europe I can tell you crime rates are rather low in Europe and I certainly felt safe in the numbers of large European cities I was in late at night.

    I dont know one major US city that I’d feel comfortable in at night, even with the death penalty, but I was more than fine in cities like Berlin, Rome and Paris late, with nare a execution in site.

    It is the socities themselves which govern crime rates, not executions. It is American society that has the problem and not even executions solve that.

    As to whether or not Saudi royals are executed, they arent. There was the deal years ago when a princess was supposedly killed, but the wide held belief is that it wasnt her. Unusually for a public execution, the princess had her head covered. So someone was killed, but most likely a poor housekeeper from Sri Lanka.

  54. Just to throw more fuel on the fire, MEMRI runs a piece on interviews with two Saudi executioners and an Egyptian hangman. They also throw in a Lebanese legislator and a human rights worker, ‘for balance’.

    http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=countries&Area=saudiarabia&ID=SP228309

    I am in favor of capital punishment in principle, under very strict guidelines. Those guidelines, however, are not met by any country with capital punishment, so I end up against capital punishment in practice.

    There is far too much room for human error–uncorrectable in the case of capital punishment–for me to support it.

  55. Abu Sinan, according to many Saudis slavery still exists, actually all women, half of the population, have no right to selfdetermination. In my book that equals slavery.
    And we have discussed the position of expat workers often enough to realise that their position often equals slavery in the Gulf states.

    And I am pimping my own blog here because I want to make sure that everybody realises that Haleema bint David is a fraudulent fake.
    http://clouddragon.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/blog-money-scam/

  56. Jerry M–thanks for your comment and the reference which I hadn’t consulted–good info and maps. Ontario and Quebec have the lowest rates of violent crime and the longest history of and tightest gun control laws, with only a moderate policing ratio. Indeed the Bible Belt has interesting Right to Life/crime/death penalty statistics.

    Abu Sinan–even if it was the Princess she was not executed by the judiciary, but rather by the tribal honour practices of her grandfather, so still a wash and perhaps more believably her (believably but not certain LOL).

    John Burgess–MEMRI are so good at throwing fuel on a fire aren’t they :) It’s the human error that determines my position too.

  57. Pretty new blog header!

    Watching this video was so surreal for me. It must take a special person to be able to treat what this man does for a living as just an ordinary job. And he’s beheaded several of his friends? And he has no compassion for any of the people he has executed? Boy, did they manage to find the right guy for this job. Unbelievable… and very scarey.

  58. Just got back after a faboulous lunch and thanks chiara for the clarification.
    aafke – nooo i didn’t praise the writing of the comment before mine :-) I meant american bedu . although now that i read it it’s written well or well copied i should say, makes me mad reading such drivel :D

  59. I hope the women are veiled when their are executed… for decency, you know….

  60. Radha, okeeee, hey what happened to you avatar? where is your pretty and fitting picture? That green alien slimy thing is só wrong!

  61. I found it surreal watching him in the beginning of the video speaking of his job while having his young children around them…

    I also had a story shared with me about him from a Saudi. Seems at one point he was coming back to the Kingdom from being abroad and had several bags. The Saudi customs officer asked him to open his bags for inspection. Al-Bishi questioned him whether it was necessary. The customs officer, doing his job, assured him it was. Al-Bishi touched the back of the customs officer neck and remarked “you have a good neck for the sword.” Another customs officer then approaches the scene and informs the first customs officer of who he is delaying. Not suprisingly apologies were extended to Al-Bishi and customs even offered to carry his luggage all the way to the outside of the airport.

    I have mixed views on executions or use of the death penalty. On one hand to have the power to sentence someone to death regardless of the means is in a way of ‘playing God.’ Does any one individual really have that kind of right? Yet if one of my family members were murdered or raped I also know I would want to see justice served. So I guess in many ways I am still on the fence.

  62. Emma, Oh yes, by all means, let’s get worried about the really important details of an execution!
    Let’s discuss the importance of Islams most important idol: the Holy Hijab!
    I am sure that decent veiling will be uppermost in these women’s minds when they are about to have their heads cut off…

  63. American Bedu–interesting anecdote!

    Only talionic (retaliatory), rather than restorative (restitutional) or retributive (revenge) justice is served by capital punishment for murder (or rape–arguably a social murder)–although many believe that is what constitutes justice, ie an eye for an eye, a life for a life.

  64. Chiara, but that is something which isn’t to be determined beyond all possibillity of doubt, read John Burgess comment, and the Saudi justice system is the last one on Earth you’d want to trust to make these decisions.

  65. Emma–I thought you were demonstrating irony (of the Anglo Saxon variety) in your comment. Am I right or is my irony detector off kilter?

  66. Emma – really!!! Veiled. did i read right, you seriously think the sonn to be dead women cares about veiling.

  67. It used to be that on certain days (Friday I believe) they would have the beheadings. Now its turned into a more random process where they take the person to Chop Chop Square (In the case of Riyadh right by clock tower) spread out the sheet say the last rites or whatever it is that they feel they need to say, turn the victim towards Mecca and then behead them and then take the body and leave. I believe if there are westerners nearby they drag them to the front to watch because its supposed to bring further shame on the person who is being executed because Westerners do not belong to the Islamic Faith. They still do cut off peoples hands for stealing but instead of doing it with a sword they take the person to a hospital and have a doctor do the job. That saying I’m still against both punishments, however I think it will take several more years for these kind of punishments to go away.

  68. Aafke at 9:41pm–I think we are in agreement. :)
    As I mentioned many times in this thread, I disapprove of capital punishment primarily because of human error, including flaws in any justice system.
    I had read John Burgess’ comment, including the link in full (impressive transmission from father to first born son of the profession of executioner–note the dripping irony :mrgreen: ), and commented on it (at 8:26) regarding MEMRIs predilections, although sometimes they are right.
    I am well aware of the defects in the Saudi justice system although there are always new and more shocking details.

    Talionic law or justice (La loi du talion in French) is from the Old Testament “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”, etc. explaining the penchant fundamentalist Christians hold for the death penalty. They not only tend to literatist readings of the Bible, but tend to favour the Old Testament with its harsh punitive God and his prophet Moses, whilst professing their faith in the New Testament with its God of love and forgiveness (Jesus).

  69. Aafke and Radha–if I remember correctly from a past comment, and if I have read this one correctly, Emma is writing ironically in that very dry British way to transmit her disgust for the beheadings.
    Hopefully she will tear herself from her real life soon to clarify for us all (and hopefulling my irony detector is working, or this would indeed be an unusual concern except in the most rigid of veiling senses, or senselessnesses).

  70. David–thanks for sharing your perspective. Again the Drs, but then some also supervise torture to make sure the prisoner doesn’t die too soon.

  71. Who is Emma? I just went through the comments and did not see any from an Emma…am I going blind?!

  72. In that case a smiley is indicated, you can get too dry you know, especially as there are people for real who do consider the head being veiled more important as the fact that it is being chopped off.

  73. bedu, yes.
    14 comments up…

  74. okay…thanks Aafke….

    @emma — if the woman is being executed you think it would be up to her on how she wants to (inshallah) meet her maker….

  75. oopss…hit enter too soon. I’m sorry but without being disrespectful, when we are talking about someone’s life being taken I think the last thing one is concerned about is whether or not they are veiled. However in response to your question, my understanding is that women are indeed completely veiled at the time of their execution.

  76. In the sense of the public beheading being a shaming as well as a deterrent, and in light of David’s comment, a niqab would probably not be allowed.

    Although I am trying to erase from my memory the images of women being half buried and lapidated to death in other countries :( , they definitely had no niqab, and I don’t remember all having a hijab either.

    I agree that since not everyone knows each other well, and sometimes one person’s obvious truth is another person’s obvious fallacy, emoticons or emotion words in brackets would help us read each other correctly. :)

  77. I hate loosing my comments…. repeating myself.

    I am personally for capital punishment in some cases, such as raping a child. That said there are too many flaws in the saudi system for me to agree w/ it as a whole in the country. I don’t necessarily care if it is beheading, firing squad or lethel injection, the end is the same. A condemmed person still has to walk to their death.

    When discussing Saudi executions there are many other issues involved as well, beyond how it is done. Pardons are also a part of it, from royal pardons, family pardons out of forgiveness, mercy or money, and groups that work to get a person pardoned.

    I don’t beleve that public executions serve as a deterent andI don’t believe that is the intent. For the intent of the law tends to be to punish the ones who go against it. What is a fitting punishment depends on the crime, but the law isn’t about detering crime at all. So I think that whole line of argument is flawed.

    But I must say.. anyone who kidnaps, rapes and kills a three year old should be killed.

    http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=120422&d=18&m=3&y=2009&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Kingdom

    and since your on the topic an abused woman can be pardoned although in an odd way.

    http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=120411&d=18&m=3&y=2009&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Kingdom

  78. Okay, just retraumatized myself with non-Saudi lapidation pictures–no niqab, a hijab; and newly traumatized myself by accidentally seeing a Saudi beheading picture as the bleeding head was falling, and another 2 pictures I won’t even describe. Sorry– gave up before I could find out re: niqab vs hijab in beheadings of women in Saudi, so still guessing no niqab/yes hijab.

    Chiara
    off to find an expert in Acute Traumatic Stress Disorder

  79. Ah much less traumatizing–Robert Fisk’s words to the rescue–in Saudi headscarves are taken off the women (at least the Nigerian ones) by the executioner before the beheading.
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19990723/ai_n14250993
    Fisk is usually well-informed, accurate, rhetorically gifted, and to the (his) point.
    Most women beheaded in Saudi seem to be non-Saudi (Ethiopian, Nigerian, Indonesian).

  80. The executioner states in the link provided by John Burgess that the women are veiled and there is only a small line of skin showing which he will have to hit, otherwise the sword will get stuck on the fabric.

  81. New and improved then–the Fisk article is from 1999. I had read the link but didn’t retain that, all those “I want to be like dear old Dad comments” got me. Thanks for pointing it out.

  82. I think it would be required to remove all forms of head gear…just to be sure the head being cut off belongs to the right “criminal”….no games of switcheroo going on or something.

    But as pointed out…the princesses head was covered for some reason…so it probably wasnt her considering she was being made a public display of how even royal women are not free to determine their own lives and love whom they want etc…seems she would have been right out there in full display to discourage any would be future women with dreams of grandeur.

  83. If we are discussing Princess Masha’al, I think it is important to remember that her (presumed if you will) execution was in an out of the way place, a parking lot on the outskirts of Jeddah (not chop chop square), by gunshot (with her abaya on). There was no judicial ruling because there were no 4 eyewitnesses of penetration to prove adultery/fornication. Also she was not married, and so should have been flogged not killed (even if she had confessed as it is claimed she did). She was killed more as a family honour killing, as was her co-accused.

    The Saudi response to the British docu-drama about it was so negative for 3 reasons: it was felt her grandfather Prince Mohamed had been dishonoured by claiming he had ordered the killing which didn’t meet the Islamic requirements for an execution; it was felt Saudi’s right to Sharia law and punishments was being insulted; and it was felt that Saudi was being exposed to international ridicule.

    Although I would prefer there not be any beheadings, presumably an identity check could be performed prior to the public killing/shaming in the presence of reliable witnesses (and yes I realize how easily that type of procedure could be corrupted :) )

  84. Hello American Bedu, I hope your next post is a happier subject! This was a good discussion but a total downer.

  85. Chiara,

    Re your comment at 12:12am…I didn’t see the film, but based on your description, I would say, good for the film makers if they really were ridiculing the Saudis for this action on an international level!

    PS: also re your other comment: precisely! Why do bible-thumpers hold on to eye for an eye when the NT specifically directs us not to?

  86. This a real execution…………..enjoy

  87. ‘There is far too much room for human error–uncorrectable in the case of capital punishment–for me to support it’

    Ditto that

    ‘Yet if one of my family members were murdered or raped I also know I would want to see justice served’

    I hear ya there but I would want to be the executioner! But then again how do we know when ‘justice’ is served or how it is served if it is up to God to mete out?
    Maybe justice is being served in a way that we can’t see or understand?

  88. Thanks Tanya.
    There is an excellent site about the events, the contemporary response to them, the film, the response to it, and a retrospective 25 years on at:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/princess/

    The Brits have never dared to show the docu-drama again again, despite the high acclaim it received.

    Yes, the Bible thumpers do like their Old Testament fire and brimstone, and sinning and punishment. :)

  89. Thanks Saudi Bedu–I watched without looking if you know what I mean. Fortunately it was infinitely more discreet than the pictures. And now I am swearing off any more visuals! :D

  90. When I wrote this post I did find there were many graphic pictures of public executions but I purposely did not want to take responsibility for too graphic of an image and give anyone visual nightmares to contend with.

    I’m sure some of our Saudi readers will inform us but I at least have been under the impression that if a woman is executed she does remain covered. At least we know all are blindfolded:

    “Their eyes are covered and they are blindfolded.
    Dressed in their own clothes, barefoot, with shackled feet and hands cuffed behind their back, the prisoner is led by a police officer to the centre of the sheet where they are made to kneel facing Mecca.”

    And Jerry, stay tuned… I promise to have many more diverse posts coming up which I hope you will find interesting although perhaps not as intense as this one.

  91. Aafke, you stated the Dutch “Have a history which taken on the whole stands out very positively in a humanistic view, from other countries on the planet.” You’re sure about that?

    You also said that Abu Sinan can provide the drug and alchol stats coming out of KSA? But then earlier you stated that you can’t trust the stats coming out of KSA … specifically @ 4:49 “Mohanned S. don’t be silly, you know very well there are no trustworthy statistics coming out of Saudi Arabia, anyway,”

    So which one is it?

    Basing the amount of drug use and its legalities there’s little wonder they’re welcoming and etc, it’ll help support the trade plus people are too strung out.

    Point the finger at Saudi, yeah okay, but you might want to spend some time pointing it back at yourself. IT get your humor,

    Abu Sinan, about slavery, I guess you were doing meaningful work for a change when that was addressed.

    You all don’t like me defending Saudi, oh well, deal with it..

  92. Chiara: I think that Princess Masha’al was married at the time of her indiscretion. No, she did not have four witnesses, but instead confessed, thus obviating the need for witnesses. To the best of my recall, she did not have a trial, however.

    Her real problem, though, was who her grandfather was: Pr. Mohammad who was the older brother of King Abdul Aziz. The affront to the dignity of the Al-Saud was so great that no one was going to tell him that his having his granddaughter executed was extra-legal.

    “Death of a Princess” was broadcast in the US when I was studying up for my first assignment to Saudi Arabia. I paid pretty close attention to it, though I haven’t seen it since 1980.

  93. John Burgess
    Apparently there were the official versions of the story and the investigative journalists truth. The official version had her in court confessing to adultery, but the story he uncovered from multiple high placed sources had her unmarried, no court, no confession or witnesses. However she was caught in a very public way having faked a drowning and trying to escape the country with her paramour a Saudi diplomat’s relative.
    As you say the real problem was bringing shame on her grandfather the brother of the King, and so he did what he did with impunity.

  94. @Susan,

    “You all don’t like me defending Saudi, oh well, deal with it..”

    You have an issue, because you do not like people telling you that your positions are wrong. Most of the times you write here, you have no background on the issues or even the basic ability to discuss them. You are the one who should learn how to deal with criticism when you take baseless positions.

    On this specific post I did not actually see you defend Saudi all I saw are 2 messages where you attacked others. Look back and you will see my point.

    May be you need to re-evaluate your approach on taking positions and that can produce a positive experience for you here.

    Regarding why people here bash Saudi when it concerns the death penalty. There is really one simple explanation. We are talking about a country that has one of the highest (if not the highest) per capita death sentences in the world. Yet it has a legal system that is in shambles and frankly is shameful. If you do not see the ethical concern that this produces then there is really no hope for us making you understand anything.

  95. Spot on Saudi in the USA.

    The statistics thing with Saudi is a joke. They wont allow them to be done because they know how bad the country will look.

    Drug addiction is rampant in Saudi. Even in Mecca, you can buy drugs yards from the Grand Mosque and prostitutes are everywhere to be had. Never mind the fact that they used to brew alcohol UNDER the very mosque itself. I wonder, did they bring their own water or use zam-zam?

    So when you have no statistics due to the nature of the government one must rely on personal experience and first hand accounts.

    Considering the topic I would mention the fact that my FIL had to pay a $10,000 fine so my wife could get divorced from her abusive, drug using ex.

    Yeah, that’s right. A $10,000 fine to a judge in a Shari’a court in Saudi so she could leave a drug abusing, violent man. Even though he showed upo so high in court that he had to wear dark glasses the judge still gave him custody of a one year old boy.

    The same boy my wife was called to get a year later because her ex MIL found the kid in a dirty diaper and he hadnt been fed in days.

    THAT is the reality of Saudi Arabia and it’s justice system. Unlike a poor Nigeria who would have been killed because he had the wrong passport and the wrong skin colour, this man has been busted with drugs many times.

    Of course he got out early……….for memorising some Qur’an…………..and he was right back to the drugs.

  96. Saudi in US and etc., in the time I’ve frequented this blog, I’ve asked does anyone have solutions to their complaints? Still waiting for that response.

    I’ve seen people “attacked” for expressing an opinion not in tow with the mindset of this blog, generally proceeded through personal attack, in an effort to get their “opponent off their game”. This is not unique to human interrelations.

    After a while of observing this blog’s typical behavioral pattern, the mechanism you employed was returned to you, and you didn’t like it, so you paraded yet another display of belittling and personal attacks. It’s an unfortunate drawback of human behavior to which we all at times succumb.

    It seems that’s the only way some can garner authority, they feel they’re strong that way. It’s the game king of the hill.

    This was again evidenced in the regenerated topic, even though people had already read it before, of should King Abdullah be nominated for the Nobel Prize, it was brought up a second time. So, I made a point not in step with this list, and look what happened, the same usual group steps up to discredit. I haven’t been the only one experiencing this. Anyone with a perspective in contrast receives the same. I employed your mechanisms, and again, you didn’t like it. Same-Same.

    Maybe everyone should be so extremely liberal, like you. But we’re not, some stay to the middle, some to the right. Some liberals go so far left, that they are right. Some combine all of them at different intervals. At the end of the day, we all hope (maybe all hope) that it works out to the best it could.

    Don’t think I haven’t tested it out. You all have your own dynamic going on, fine, it’s all good.

    You like the position of Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Fine. You have a list over on Aafke’s site that’s your modus operandi, your sorting matrix – fine. You want to “desensitize” – okay, your efforts are noble. You want to test out your theories of “perception is reality”? Fine, I’ll play for a little while. Are you in school? Do you want to test things out for class? No problem.

    You want to discuss? Great. That’s exactly what we need, yet more windbags discussing things, even things that have been discussed ad nauseam. Every time you turn around there’s yet another “specialist” on the Middle East (or any other given topic) who thinks they have a clue (who knows, they might), and who again, instead of making positive change, regurgitates the same tripe discussed 30 or more years ago.

    Why? It makes money for them, puts them on the academic and scholarly circuit, as long as they include other notables who too are desirous of being on the academic and scholarly circuit.

    Amongst the commiserates is Abu Sinan, who when I asked some time ago, during the topic of Muna Abu Sulayman, he complained about why a wealthy woman with connections, why don’ t you find that woman who is poor in the heaps and recognize her for the strong role model she is. I asked … Still waiting.

    In fact, I asked for a list of women who others here would consider role models, anyone, and what their story was. Still waiting.

    The laws in Saudi Arabia are in shambles? Okay. It’s my understanding you have many Western educated lawyers in Saudi Arabia and as well, your King is working on it along with others including Prince Saud al Faisal, he had a great mother and father, by the way.

    So, what can you do to help the efforts of the strides and advancements, besides complain in order to esteem yourself? How can you nurture a better day toward realization?

    If you want to be consultants on the Global Partnership or whatever it is, it might behoove you to set a better example of working with other approaches than I’ve seen evidenced here. Why don’t you freely take the ideas of others and then tout them off as your own, you can make money can’t you?

    Please, just give it a rest.

    You want to be a consultant? Okay, part of being a consultant is working with different perspectives, part of being a leader is understanding where our client is coming from, which includes a number of factors. None of these factors include the behavior and approach I’ve sometimes seen evidenced here.

    But you can change your approach too for the better.

  97. Wow Susan, I didnt even read half of your rave. What a waste of time.

    In the first paragraph or two you condemn a whole set of actions, then do your best in the rest of the post to repeat these very same actions.

    As for your lame request that I find a poor Saudi in the heaps and recognise her for the strong role model she is……….what a really dumb statement!

    I dont live in Saudi, so I would ask you how many dirt poor Saudis are here in the USA for me to find and recognise?

    I did point out one woman, my wife, who against a lot of odds, has become successful and done well for herself without wealth and connections.

    You mention Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but you are just the polar opposite of her. You are an extremist, mirrored image of her.

    I am a practicing Muslim, yet I condemn both her extremism AND yours. You wouldnt know the middle ground if you fell and it hit you in the head.

    Stick to being a Western apoligist for the unIslamic and greedy leaders in the Middle East. We’ve seen many like you before, we’ll see many after you’ve moved onto a new crusade.

    You gave out some good advice when you said “But you can change your approach too for the better.”

    I would suggest you heed it yourself.

    You also gave some good advice I’d like to see you follow yourself:

    “Please, just give it a rest.”.

  98. Okay folks…chill time. Let’s keep with the subject of the post and not direct any personal attacks.

  99. I personally think that the death penalty is not 100% wrong, as I believe there are some people in this world that TRULY deserve it! But I don’t agree with how it is carried out, i.e. how the person who gets life in prison is differentiated from those who receive capital punishment. Mind you, I personally believe that the US courts DO NOT always get it right, how many times have we heard that a INNOCENT person was put on death row? Many times! Or how one person who kills people gets life in prison, and another gets the death penalty? (In the same State) I mention the US, as I know that Saudi is NOT the only country that carries out the death penalty. And I still don’t get why people enjoy putting Saudi under a microscope, when other countries we stand by are just as corrupt and at times more so!

    As for the most HUMANE form of punishment, I believe it would have to be the beheading (of course if it is carried out by someone who knows that they are doing), instead of being electrocuted in a chair, and feeling your insides burn up, or a lethal injection that slowly gets into your system and kills you. Or a hanging that doesn’t always go as planned.

    PS- I asked my husband if he had ever witnessed a beheading, and he surprised me by telling me he actually did, he was in his teens and found himself there out of curiosity (I wouldn’t wanna see it). The way he explained his experience was that it was like a movie, it didn’t feel real. And he he told me the man that he witnessed tried to hold his head close to his shoulders so that the execution would not be done, and the executioner jabbed him in the back with the sword and the man stuck his head out for quick sec and in that millisecond, the beheading was carried out. He also commented that he would never want to witness it again.

    Once again AB you have opened my eyes to new things in this country… thank you!

  100. @Susan,

    “Please, just give it a rest.”

    How about you do that. Sorry to tell you, all what you do is start arguments then you wonder why you get them back.

    In this article you have not posted once on
    the death penalty in Saudi, which is the topic that everyone discussed here. All you did is attack others. Your last comment, which by the way sounds like disorganized unconnected ramblings, you managed to introduce over ten new things to argue about. You are an arguing machine and it all seems to be just for the sake of arguing.

    For some reason, you think everyone here started against you, but you really have not looked at the obvious. Can it possibly be you? I really tried in my earlier comment provide a focus on how to improve this situation you find yourself in almost in every article. However, I got back this rant which is all over the map.

    I guess some people cannot be helped. I will leave you with the wise words of Ron White – “You Can’t Fix Stupid”

  101. Om Lujain–thanks for sharing your perspective and that of your husband. I think the problems with capital punishment remain twofold: no human justice system is fool proof, and all methods involve unfortunate failures to be “humane”.

  102. Princess Misha’al was indeed executed. Many women of the alsaud were made to witness both the shooting and the body. A Saudi cautionary tale…

  103. Mariam–thanks for your comment. We all agree she was executed, it seems the issue is more that it was an honour killing rather than a judicial order (made later to look like a judicial order), and that since she was unmarried but caught trying to flee the kingdom with her lover she should have been flogged not killed according to Islam (he was also shot–and he was the nephew of a Saudi Ambassador ? to Lebanon). If you care to elaborate further it would be enlightening.

    A cautionary tale indeed! I have written on another thread of a non-Saudi man I am aware of who was warned once to stop his adultery (both were married) with a member of the Saudi royal family and then killed in a parking lot when he persisted.

  104. So what was the story of Princess Misha’al? Please forgive my ignorance but I had never heard of this incident until I started scrolling down through the comments and that was part of several heated discussions. Why was she executed?

  105. Mariam,

    There is no proof Princess Misha’al was killed. So we dont all agree. As a matter of fact, many Saudis I know insist that she didnt die, rather is living rather well in Europe.

    The only “proof” is what members of her family have said. You might take that as the “gospel” truth, but I sure dont.

  106. What is it Abu Sinan? I didn’t respond to your mood swing soon enough so now you go after Mariam?

  107. Abu Sinan–sorry I forgot that you, and some others, aren’t convinced she was executed at all since some of us were looking more at the issue of it being an honour killing rather than a judicial execution.

    David–
    In brief Misha’al bint Fahd al Saud was a Saudi princess who was caught vry publicly at the airport fleeing the Kingdom with her Saudi lover (after faking her death by drowning), and both were shot in a parking lot on the outskirts of Jeddah execution style.

    The issues are whether it was really she who was shot rather than a substitute (pace Abu Sinan); and, whether it was a judiciary execution (hence the relationship to the post) or an honour killing (hence the shame of its exposure internationally) ordered by her grandfather Prince Muhammad bin Abdul Aziz, an older brother of the then King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz.
    Supposedly, to cover the honour killing in some views, she was tried and confessed (since there were no witnesses to the penetration as required by Islam).
    Furthermore, according to Islam, if they were unmarried (fornicators) rather than married (adulterers) they should have been lashed rather than killed.

    A 1980 docu-drama (to avoid legal complications) was done by a British investigative journalist which resulted in much hew and cry, although he had excellent sources, and nobly protected them and his actors from threats.

    The PBS Frontline program did a followup 25 years later (post 9/11 interest?) with an excellent web site including informative interviews and a transcript of the original “Death of a Princess”: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/princess/

  108. Not sure if those in KSA will be able to view the links since ‘Death of a Princess’ is banned in KSA.

  109. Susan: *Aafke, you stated the Dutch “Have a history which taken on the whole stands out very positively in a humanistic view, from other countries on the planet.” You’re sure about that?*
    Yes, I’m sure about that.

    Susan I am really wondering at you strange comments, I cannot figure you out.
    Obviously your knowlege of Saudi Arabia, or any foreign country for that matter, is sketchy at the extreme!
    And yet, when you are corrected in your mistaken views by people with actual knowledge and personal experiences, you refuse to accept their superior knowlege.

    We all have solutions for the problems in KSA, to be able to implement them is a different matter. The most important one would be: Write a system of law, and get trained judges. They had 80 years to do that for pete’s sake!

    I am wondering what you are about, your comments on this thread are completely off topic. Your comments are always brainlessly pro Saudi Arabia, it is as if you equate Saudi Arabia with a ”Devine Utopia”!
    And if anybody tells you different, you put up some mindless, brainless uninformed attack.
    I am getting the very strong impression you are a paid writer, You have no passion about any of the subjects under discussion, you try to derail the discussions away from any negative comments on Saudi, You keep plugging King Abdullah.
    We are talking about the Death penalty here and you haven’t even alluded to it once!

    You are a fraud, that’s why you have no personal opinion, you only write in praise of Saudi Arabia, and it’s king, without true knowlege insight, or even interest.
    It’s pure, mindless propaganda!
    How much does your job as a propagandist pay???
    And it’s a waste of money, you’re not doing a good job…

  110. American Bedu–Oh of course, thank you for pointing that out. The wiki site under her name is perhaps blocked as well?

    Feel free to delete the excerpts below as you see fit:

    From Wiki:
    Misha’al bint Fahd al Saud (1958 – 1977) (Arabic: الأميرة مشاعل بنت فهد بن محمد آل سعود‎) was a Saudi Arabian Princess who was executed, although it has been claimed that she was illegally killed[1], in 1977, at the age of 19. She was a granddaughter of Prince Muhammad bin Abdul Aziz, who was an older brother of the then-King of Saudi Arabia, Khalid bin Abdul Aziz.

    She was executed by gunshots to the head, contrary to Sharia law, since she was not married. Also, the Ambassador’s nephew [her lover] was executed on the same day (it is unknown if he was married).

    AND
    The difference between the official version, which was the girl was killed because she was found guilty of adultery, and the truth of it, which turns out that she was, in fact, executed by the king’s elder brother in an act of tribal vengeance in a parking lot in Jeddah, was, in fact, the heart of the controversy because that was the part that, of course, the royal family could not countenance. And that was the great outrage.”
    —David Fanning, Cowriter and Executive Producer of Death of a Princess

  111. PS same feel free to edit as above:

    Death of a Princess
    A Film by Antony Thomas
    Based on interviews recorded in London, Paris, Beirut
    and Arabia between July and November 1978.

    Arabia, July 15, 1977
    Saudi men praying in a mosque. A caravan of cars travels along a desert road to a car park in a souk. Curious men coming out of the mosque assemble around the car park. A truck dumps a large pile of sand in one corner. A woman covered in a black abaya is taken from the back of a panel truck, made to kneel in the sand. A gunshot.

    Telex: “TFX 306: I saw a princess die.”
    Newspaper headlines: “Princess executed for love.” “La princesse l’amant …et le bourreau.” “Kopf ab!”

    THE EMIRA”: They’d wasted time. Four days, and still no sign of a body. Then there was a catastrophe. On the afternoon before she faked her drowning, she left a letter with her maid, with instructions that it would not be delivered for a week, whatever happened. It was just to tell her mother not to worry, that she was safe. Of course, when the search went on day after day, the maid got scared. She just handed over the letter. Everybody was alerted on the very day they were trying to escape.

    She could have traveled under the veil with the passport of a servant, any woman. We have a saying in Arabic, “A thief isn’t caught unless he wants to be caught.”

    Dr. KHALDY: There was no trial. The execution was a matter of public policy. The balance of power is delicate. Grandfather is the king’s older brother. The king needs his support. The couple were taken straight from the airport to grandfather’s palace. On the following Friday, they were executed by the prince’s own bodyguards. The king was against it, but then the prince is outside the law. Honor. He who gives life has the right to take it away. That’s not the law of Islam, it’s the law of the tribe. He didn’t even use the Square of Justice. They were both killed in a car park. You can just see it from here.

    CHRISTOPHER RYDER: Look, Marwan, an uneducated, immature teenager was just on some hopeless bloody escapade!

    Dr. MARWAN SHAHEEN: But she acted. Don’t take that away from her. Christopher, can’t you see? You’ve just been taken on a journey through the private center of the Arab world because that princess always remained beside you. She created the spark, not you. She gave your journey meaning.

    CHRISTOPHER RYDER: Meaning! A 19-year-old girl was stuck in front of a pile of sand and shot!

  112. PPS same feel free to edit as above:

    From a PBS interview in 2005 with Antony Thomas [the investigative journalist]:

    Why not do this as a normal documentary?

    Because I couldn’t have a single interview in it. There was not one person I spoke to, with the exception of a Palestinian family I know very well, who would agree to appear in this film. So it was absolutely understood that “Everything I’m telling you now, Antony, is in confidence. You will never refer to me; you will never expose me, will you?” You couldn’t make a documentary. It was impossible. You’d have a whole array of people with their voices distorted and bags on their heads, and that wouldn’t make a very good film.

    How much did you learn about the girl herself?

    A lot. And all the information that I originally had was untrue. There was another truth there. She was not educated. She was impetuous. And the manner of her relationship and the manner of her death didn’t have these sort of noble trappings that people had invested in it.
    But it was still, as I think somebody says in the final scene of the film, that “She acted. Don’t take that away from her.” So I learned about the life she really lived and the kind of girl she was. Obviously I don’t know her well, didn’t know her well, but I got much nearer to the truth than when we started on this exercise.

    Another point of controversy is the role of the grandfather. Describe the controversy and your sourcing on that, as best you can.

    Well, that’s multiple sources. The original story was based on the idea that there was a trial — the full shari’a [Islamic law] proceedings went ahead — and that the princess, in effect, elected to die. She proclaimed that she had committed adultery three times. And the original story went on to describe how the king interceded and so on and so forth.
    Well, let’s put it this way: I visited the courts. I met Islamic lawyers who were acting there in the country and who knew about the court proceedings, and apart from that, many, many people who insisted that there [was] no trial at all.

    So what actually happened?

    It’s quite clear what happened. This is a decision made by her grandfather and not a decision that the king was prepared to quarrel with. It was a matter of defending the grandfather’s honor. And the outrage, as far as he was concerned, was this sad attempt the princess had made to fake a drowning, which then stimulated all kinds of search by helicopters and so on to find her.
    In other words, a lot of attention was brought to the case in the country. And then she was arrested in a very public place, the airport. For a member of a family like that, for one of their own children or grandchildren to behave like that publicly is an assault on that person’s honor. This is about honor. It wasn’t about Islamic law.

    The story of whether or not there was a trial — you have multiple sources on that?

    It wasn’t a trial. She wasn’t even executed in the Square of Justice. She was just executed in a car park. I’ve witnessed executions in Saudi Arabia, I’m afraid. They’re always done in a special square. This wasn’t even done there. It wasn’t done with an official executioner, not that that would make it any worse or any better. But this was not following the process of any law.

    Twenty-five years later, your sources would still be reluctant to come forward?

    Oh, absolutely, absolutely, because it’s very misrepresented. It’s misrepresented by [the] Saudi elite as an attack on Islam. It isn’t an attack on Islam. It’s very respectful of Islam. …

    Was there pressure put on the Arab actors?]

    Again, a lot. What happened was, I took the film to Cairo about two months before it was broadcast. I didn’t know how it would be received. I had no idea. And I had a showing for the minister of culture, who had given me permission to film there, and all the actors, and it was a very, very emotional screening. I mean, I was there. I told them with purpose, “Anyone who’s worried about their appearance in this film, they won’t have a credit,” and so forth.

    We had the screening. It was very emotional. And [the minister of culture] got up and hugged me and said their only shame is that an Arab didn’t make this film, and so on and so forth. The minister was delighted.

    And then this thing hit the fan. And my friend Salah Jaheen, who’s since passed away, who collaborated closely on the film, he phoned me one day. He said, “Antony, they’re putting pressure on the actors.”

    I said: “Well, look, tell them to tell any story they like. Tell them that they never saw the script; they’ve never seen the film. All they saw was their one scene. I give them absolute free rein to do that.” And everybody but one or two did that. But who am I to say? I’m safe here; they’re not safe out there.

    PBS also interviewed in 2005 a number of experts about the film and its relevance to the contemporary life of Saudi women, including:

    Edward S. Walker, Jr. is president of the Middle East Institute and a former ambassador to Israel, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. In this interview, he discusses the impact of “Death of a Princess” in the Arab world and how the Saudis found the film insulting in ways that a Westerner would not understand. He also talks about how much has changed in Saudi Arabia over the past 25 years and why he thinks the film may have played a role in that. Much of the interview concerns what Walker believes are the important things the West needs to understand about Saudi Arabia. “They are trying to balance between change that is important for long-term stability and maintaining a popular base on the one hand, and change which can create a counterreaction in the very traditional society that Saudi Arabia still is. So, it’s a balancing factor here.”

  113. Mariam, Thank you for your comment, it is a special priviledge to get a comment on such a subject from a real saudi lady, who actually really knows what she’s talking about. Our opinions can only be based on secundary information.
    On that premise, I am think it was an ”honour”-killing, nothing to do with justice, or a verdict or anything.

  114. Let’s move to the debate page about paid proprogandists please! And I will also put my thoughts to that comment there!

  115. Nah, I think my comments have merit, otherwise you and the usual wouldn’t go to such lengths to discredit them.

    Paid propagandist? That would truly not be me — however if you notice as you’re pointing at me. there are three other fingers are pointing back in your direction, et al. :)

    Besides, I’m not much for standing on sidewalks.

  116. Okay, you all scurry on over, get your gossip together, insults, clever speculations, conclusion jumps, and your assorted and assundry whatevers and wait .. I’ll be there in a little while.

  117. ok cool down everyone, i tink most people here agree that death penalty with a poor justice system is not the way to go.
    no insults susan !! idont know if you are for real or not – no offense but saudu has some good and some bad, like all places, it’s just that it’s bad affects the women – US, hence our criticisms :-)
    UUGh i for onesee enough death on daily basis , i don’t think i would willingly attend a killing. also wonder is there any way these killed folks could donate their organs.. or do they? ok don’t answer if it offends anyone. just a thought, we’re facing terrible shortage of liver /lung tissue so i wondered.
    ok for some good news, my head is exploding and i’ll telling this to all and . My son ( my baby) got accepted into MIT :-) how cool is that.. i think my face will split if i smile anymore:-) :-) :-)sorry i know totally inappropriate here but hey he got into MIT with a scholarship :-)

  118. Right, no problem.

  119. Radha–organ donations from executed prisoners are a problem for ethical and medical reasons: the ethics of capital punishment, non-voluntariness of the donation, commercialisation of cadaver organs from the executed (China), increased executions to help supply meet demand (China) and insufficient numbers to meet demand (even in China); problems with medical harvesting and preservation of viable organs (especially with public beheadings in Saudi, and with the injections used in the US) resulting in a theoretical proposal that vivisection be the method of harvesting and simultaneous execution a la Mayans(obviously rejected).

    Excellent, readable, short summary by renowned surgeon ethicist Abdullah Daar of Oman:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VJ0-3VB4YXH-CC&_user=994540&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050024&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=994540&md5=4db2eb3acd8d968be63ddb8b407ee87c

    Very good summary discussion with Arthur Caplan, Canadian bioethicist:
    http://www.goodmagazine.com/section/Provocations/lets_harvest_the_organs_of_death-row_inmates

    Very good summary of a BMJ issue on legalizing commercial donation of organs, and “transplant tourism”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/surgeon-organ-trade-should-be-legalised-846234.html
    :D :D :D Mabrook! to your son (and you and your husband) :D :D :D

  120. Radha – You pose an excellent question since so many vital organs are in short demand for transplants. It does make one wonder if the person being executed could sign a consent for donation of organs?

    And wow – congratulations! That is indeed very wonderful news and I can imagine your happiness!!! Thanks for choosing to share this great news with us too.

  121. As mentioned in the opening statement, in ’07 had the record high beheadings in the KSA.
    I am very much oppossed to death sentences, as it is not really prevent crimes.
    I am studied criminals, and many who commit the crime are not wired correctly. ( The pre-frontal lobe is fully developed and therefore there is no sense empathy–this includes the consequences if they are caught)
    Also, countries where the death penalty ceases to exist, the crime rate is much lower.

  122. I think that it would be wonderful if killers who are on death row could atone for their sins by giving life through organ donation. But at the same time I would bet that people would feel leery about having the organs of a killer in their body. Didn’t they make a horror story about that? LOL

  123. That’s a tough question….if one is between life and death, how much would it really matter for the organs to come from someone on death row?

  124. Superstition is a strong force

  125. As I indicated above there are ethical and medical problems with organ donation from executed prisoner, despite it being such a great concept in theory.

    American Bedu also raised the question specifically of consent. There are 2 main problems regarding consent. First, consents must be voluntary and it is easy to coerce a prisoner, especially one sentenced to death, and especially when as in Saudi the execution follows swiftly on the sentencing (at least to my knowledge prisoners do not spend years on death row making legal appeals, and becoming qualified lawyers themselves as they do in the US).

    The second main problem is that consents must be made by someone who is mentally competent. In the US all prisoners must be examined by a qualified professional as to whether they are mentally competent to be executed: ie aware of the law, their crime, the punishment, and the reason for the punishment, eg. not so psychotic they think they are the Messiah about to be killed and resurrected to save the world. The same would apply to ethical organ donation.

    Consents must also be revokable–hard to do when you are dead. Consents for altruistic aims have to be clear that the person can choose not to be altruistic. Society cannot decide for someone else that that person will act altruistically on behalf of others or society in general.

    Islamic ethics strongly supports the ideas of voluntariness, mental competence (sanity and cognitive reasoning) and intentionality.

    Regarding the medical problems, the measures taken to relieve the prisoner’s distress or actually effect the execution reduce the medical viability of the organs. And not all prisoners are healthy enough to be good donors (drug/alcoholic livers, infectious diseases, etc).

    The main social ethical problem would be commercializing donation as in China and increasing executions so supply could meet demand.

    Most in need of a transplant only care that the transplant is medically compatible, and many would even take an animal organ if necessary and possible. The farther they are along in the process of being on a wait list as they get closer to death, the less fussy and more grateful they become.

  126. Thanks american bedu and Chiara, yes we’re ecstatic, well th einitial euphoria has worn off and i’m dreading his leaving and husband is going around whispering to me ” one down one more to go “.. the awful awful man.. god whoever said it’ll be easy when kids have a nut loose, now i’m worried about all he’ll do there although hubby assures me he’ll slog and slog and get time for nothing else to retain that scholarship :-) but again he also reminds me we met in college .. hmmm that’s not very reassuring at this moment..
    anyway i read a few articles about organ donation , all very interesting. and i agree when you’re on the waiting list and close to the end does it really matter whose organs they are as long as they are healthy and compatible. yes animal organs if a true match would probably be prefered but alas that’s not the way it is now. so till then we should atleast all try to sign up and save someone’s life — it’s hard to see a father/mother/child lose a life because of a shortage of organs, seems such a waste of a life, i feel more for the family left behind. I wouldn’t think it would matter who donated the organs as long as they got it in time.

  127. As one who presently has a family member awaiting a transplant I can personally attest that as long as the donor is deemed compatible it is unlikely one would be too picky….especially when you are looking at the only means to save ones life.

  128. As well as being familiar with the bioethics of organ transplantation, including in other cultures, I have a physician friend who required kidney transplantation and was willing to take a donation from a friend or family member but none were compatible, or to buy one but it is illegal in Canada and she didn’t trust the medical systems where it is legal.
    By the time she was transplanted she was severely medically (and therefore socially) compromised. She was extraordinarily grateful to the anonymous donor (car accident fatality). I also have a bioethicist friend who advocates for donation, and has stated and written publicly that if feasible and necessary she personally would have no trouble with an animal organ (she has an illness that hasn’t required a donor organ–yet!).

    And yes, sign the part of your North American driver’s licence that authorizes organ donation–unless you or your survivors have a very particular reason for wanting your body disposed of intact.

  129. I’m not sure but is it against Islamic principles to donate organs in the event of death?

  130. American Bedu–No it is not. This has been addressed by both Sunni and Shia scholars and by Muslim physicians and bioethicists, and physician- bioethicists including Abdullah Daar linked above, and specifically and readably on this topic by him and a Muslim scholar (and free to all) at: http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/164/1/60

  131. Excellent article and thanks for sharing. It does clearly state the ethical issues and how they are being approached in accordance with islamic principles. I may be wrong but I don’t think organ donation is as active in Saudi Arabia as other parts of the world. I say this based on the high numbers of Saudis I see waiting for transplants of various kinds. And for a while there was a thriving business in Pakistan of selling kidneys! Many needy families saw this as a way of earning more than they would typically receive in one year.

  132. I am a full donor: everything except my retina’s. Giving my nerdy lifestyle I expect to fully harvestable after my death.

  133. As I have always said Aafke, you ROCK!

  134. American Bedu–you are welcome. One of the tragedies in South Asia is the need to, and the commercial value of, selling organs–kidneys most often but parts of liver (you can live with part and it regenerate) as well. There is also concern about botched surgeries, or kidney removal without consent (during another operation). Apparently survivors of the tsunami, women in particular have made money selling kidneys of necessity.
    On the other hand, most Muslims (even physicians) don’t realize donation (live or cadaver) is permissible, not a desecration of the body.

  135. It’s as if this barbaric practice was a painting to admire. Art of beheading? is there an art of rape?

    The death “penalty” is not a deterrent to future crime, it never has been and overwhelming research has proven its ineffectiveness as a deterrent. But even with the deterrence argument aside, have you considered how this practice is also dehumanizing to the person carrying it out, or to the culture that condones it? It’s noting more than murder, sanctioned murder, but murder nevertheless. I’m sure you’ll find many people who champion the practice, while at the same time would never want to witness is, much less carry the execution out themselves (why not, it’s being done in their name and with their approval.) They probably wouldn’t even like the executioner as a neighbor.

    The executioner in the video was conditioned (or self conditioned) to view beheading as normal and ordained. It was as if he’s describing his first date and kiss. Consider that beheading is the method of choice used by some terrorists, is it a coincidence or did they simply see it as appropriate since their cultures practiced it on regular basis?

    The practice tells more about the country than it does about the persons being beheaded. It’s a way of providing the illusion of fighting crime while hiding the incompetence of not having prevented it in the first place. When you consider that it ranks first in per capita executions (last I checked) you would imagine the country would be crime free by now or at least with a decreasing crime rate.

    For victims of crime like rape and murder, many would want the perpetrator killed. It wouldn’t undo the crime and it wouldn’t prevent it from happening again. It’s revenge, and revenge just adds more violence rather than takes it out.

  136. Elis,

    thanks for your comments! I was thinking about it more as well and it makes you wonder how a person takes such an occupation and lives with themselves…not only as an executioner who executes by beheading but even in the US where executions are conducted by the electric chair or lethal injection…someone still has to do that deed. I found it chilling how he is able to speak so ‘casually’ if you will in taking away someone’s life. Wonder if an American in a position as an executioner were interviewed, what kind of answers they’d give..would they be similar to his or not?

  137. I don’t believe in the death penalty under any circumstances and living in America where the death penalty still exists today, I cannot judge Saudi society for their own form of execution. Before we talk about removing the speck out of our brother’s eye, let’s remove the log from our own.

  138. Kat, you can’t have read the comments here or you would realise yours is totally off the mark.

  139. Brave and true man mashaAllah. this is how we are suppose to be. Justice is Justice and it should be done in public so others can watch and avoid the acts that lead to that person’s execution. Unfortunately recently there have been an extreme “GAYNESS” that has over taken our society. Men walk like girls, wear super super tight jeans in purplle, red, green, yellow, blue and such colors. And MANY other symptoms of girls that they show. The Italians design clothes, the super expensive show off brands put them in their stores, and our youth runs to buy them to show off their wealth and status by wearing these clothes.
    Sadly nobody cares or is concerned with that.

    Yet, when comes a man of true justice, he is called all sorts of names. Calling Saudi Arabia a conservative society as if the Guantanamo Bay is JUSTIFIED.

  140. @Yousuf – Interesting perspective….I look forward to seeing what others think as well.

    However I am curious…where are you seeing this “gayness?” I have not noticed anything like you’ve described in Riyadh at least…

  141. I’ve never understood why colors had to be gender specific. :s I wonder if colors had souls if they’d be upset being worn by the gender they were supposedly not meant for :P .

  142. Yousouf, do you mean walking around in white dresses is gay?
    Sooo cheap, instead of meeting any critisim head on, you uimmediately, like a little child start pointing fingers at somebody else. The point is you should clear up your own mess first before you point fingers to what’s wrong in other peoples countries.

    And what’s with the bloodthist??? Have you ever had a good look at the Quran? Have you noticed the word ”mercy”, or ”compassion”? Have you read the many passages where it speaks about mercy? And about repentance? And foregoing ”punishment”???
    It’s a pity people like you are not willing to rise to a higher level, and don’t care to remember that Allah is merciful and compassionate.

  143. @Aafke,

    I feel that there are two people using your account,

    at one argument you say Islam is very cruel, has no compassion and full of murder, blood, rape.. i.e ‘Sword’ verse.

    and here you say “Have you read the many passages where it speaks about mercy?.. remember that Allah is merciful and compassionate.”

    do you just get a kick out of contradicting everyone or what??

    and you call us hypocrites :)

  144. wtf??

    I just entered the top post, didn’t notice that this was from 2009 XD

  145. That’s okay Moh. The blog has been in existence with daily posts since 2006. It’s not unusual for folks to comment on much earlier posts… in fact that can result in having the post revived.

    On Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 9:48 AM, American Bedu

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