Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state where source of all the laws and regulations is Islamic Rules and Quran. In Saudi Arabia, death penalty is imposed on serious crimes. I have explained below the crimes upon which death penalty is imposed. Death penalty in Saudi Arabia is imposed in two ways i.e. beheading and stoning. It is said that almost 400 people are executed in Saudi Arabia every year.
Method of Execution in Saudi Arabia
Beheading is the common method of execution in Saudi Arabia. In almost all the cases with one exception, criminals are executed in this way. Executor waves his sword and head of the criminal drops down to the land. It is said that this is the least painful way of execution.
Public stoning is used to execute individuals who are involved in adultery. This is the most painful way of execution. People who are involved in rape or Zina (physical relation without marriage) are stoned to death in public.
Crimes Punishable by Death in Saudi Arabia
- Murder is punishable by death or blood money. Murder means intentional or unintentional killing of a human being due to any reason. It includes the traffic accidents as well. If you are at fault in an accident caused life of any person, you have murdered him intentionally and if it was mistake of other party or both parties, it means unintentional murder. However, acceptance of blood money in place of execution depends upon the heirs of the victim.
- Aggravated Murder is punishable to death in all the cases. This offense may include (but not be limited to) offenses such as murder during robbery or murder involving seclusion, treachery, or other methods rendering the victim helpless.
- Terrorism is punishable to death irrespective of it resulted in the death of people or not. This crime is punishable to death as per Fatwa issued on 30th August 1988. However, terrorism has not been defined in that Fatwa. It remains on the discretion of Judge to establish if the act constitutes to be terrorism or not.
- Zina is punishable to death for both Male and Female. Zina means physical relations between man and woman without having marital relation. However, in case of Zina, penalties are different for married and unmarried people. Married people are stoned to death as mentioned above and penalty for unmarried people is 100 lashes. Zina requires penetration of the male and female genital parts.
- Rape resulted in Death is punishable to death. If the rapist is married, he/she is stoned to death and if he/she is unmarried he/she is beheaded.
- Rape not resulting in Death is also punishable to death. The penalty for rapist is the same as penalty of Zina. Married people are stoned to death as mentioned above and penalty for unmarried people is 100 lashes. Rape requires penetration of the male and female genital parts.
What is Blood Money?
It is in Islamic rules that if someone is died due to you, accidentally or intentionally, you will have to face the consequence which may lead to death or blood money. According to recent calculations made by Saudi Government, Blood Money (Diya) is set to be SR 300,000/- for unintentional cases and SR 400,000/- for murder cases. It is actually a value equivalent to 100 camels. If you don’t pay blood money, you will be executed.
Offenders Excluded from Death Penalty
- Pregnant Women are excluded to be penalized to the death. The reason of imposing this law is that execution of a pregnant woman will result in execution of two lives including the life of unborn child who has not committed any offense.
- Women with Small Children are excluded to be penalized to death. A woman is not beheaded or stoned unless her child becomes two years old. Medical Science has proved that in first two years, milk of mother is the best diet for any child. However, she is executed after her child becomes two years old.
- Mentally Ill People are also excluded from penalty of death. A person who does not have mental awareness of the consequences of his acts is not criminally responsible beyond payment of compensation.
- Minor cannot be given penalty of death. He cannot be executed for the crimes he has committed during the time when he/she was minor. However, definition of minor in Saudi Arabia is different from other parts of the world. In Saudi Arabia, minor means a person who has not reached to majority. It can be any time after the age of 15 for men and after the age of 9 for women.