Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Now THAT's capital punishment.

I believe in the death penalty. I understand many don't. One of the reasons I often hear is that the death penalty actually does little to deter violent crime. Which I'm sure is fairly true. Perhaps if we did this, though, people might start to get the message a bit more clearly.

Saudi Arabian officials beheaded and then publicly displayed the body of a convicted killer in Riyadh on Friday, an act that prompted a stiff denunciation by a leading human rights monitor.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said Ahmed Al-Shamlani Al-Anzi was sentenced to death and then "crucifixion" -- having his body displayed in public -- for the kidnapping and killing of an 11-year-old boy and for the killing of the boy's father, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

Amnesty International issued a statement deploring the punishment, with the group's Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui saying in a statement it is "horrific" that beheadings and crucifixions "still happen."

Even though the word "crucifixion" is used to describe the public display, the act has no connection to Christianity and the crucifixion of Jesus. The bodies are not displayed on crosses, Lamri Chirouf, who researches Saudi Arabian issues for Amnesty, explained.

The Saudi Interior Ministry asserted that Al-Anzi's body was displayed as a warning that those involved in similar crimes would suffer the same fate, the press agency reported.

The ministry said Al-Anzi kidnapped the boy and held him for a "malicious purpose" at a grocery store where he worked. He tied rope around the boy's neck and strangled him to death, the ministry said.

When the boy's father came to the store looking for his son, Al-Anzi axed the father repeatedly until the man died. When police came to arrest Al-Anzi, Al-Anzi resisted arrest by threatening them with a knife.

Police later discovered that Al-Anzi had been previously convicted of other crimes, including possession of pornographic videos and sodomy, the Interior Ministry said.

Chirouf, the Saudi Arabian researcher for Amnesty International, said his understanding of how the Saudi government carries out crucifixion jibed with Saudi Press Agency's account.

Government officials do use crucifixions, or public displays of executed bodies, as a tool to deter people from committing such a crime, he said.

This latest case was classified as an offense of rebellion, one that basically rejected all of the rules of religion and society, he said.

Chirouf said those crucified are beheaded first and then their heads are sewn back on their bodies. Then, the corpse is mounted on a pole or a tree.

- Source

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