Tagged: Capital punishment

Countries where homosexuality is punishable by death


Notorious for its adherence to Wahhabism, a puritanical strain of Islam, and as the birthplace of most of the 9/11 hijackers, Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country that holds sharia (Islamic law) as its sole legal code.

That means smoking, drinking, going to discos, and mixing with unrelated persons of the opposite sex are all “haram” (forbidden).


Religious police (“mutaween”) are on constant patrol, enforcing the laws.

Sodomy is punishable by death. However, paradoxically, the strict laws limiting the mixing of the sexes mean that it is in many ways easier to be gay in Saudi Arabia than to be straight. As long as gays and lesbians maintain the appearances of conforming to Wahhabist rules, they can do what they want in private.


Visitors to Jeddah and Riyadh can find thriving communities of homosexuals – who meet in schools, cafés, on the streets, and on the Internet.

“You can be cruised anywhere in Saudi Arabia, any time of the day. They’re quite shameless about it,” Radwan, a 42-year-old gay Saudi American who grew up in various Western cities and now lives in Jeddah, told The Atlantic magazine.

Talal, a Syrian who moved to Riyadh in 2000, told the magazine that the Saudi capital is a “gay heaven.”

However, what surprises Westerners is that many Saudi men who have sex with other men do not consider themselves to be gay.


The sight of men holding hands is commonplace in Saudi Arabia and many other Arab countries, and is not seen as a suspicious act.


Homosexuality is outlawed by the Afghan constitution, but Shariah law is more likely to be enforced by vigilante groups than by the authorities.


But like Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is widespread – namely relations between adult men and young dancing boys, known as “bacha bazi”.

The practice of wealthy men forcing boys to dress up as women and dance at gatherings goes back to ancient times – but has seen a sharp revival in post-Taliban Afghanistan, according to human rights groups.


Boys who become bachas are seen as property, and those perceived as being particularly beautiful can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars. The men who control them sometimes rent them out as dancers at male-only parties, and some are prostituted.

Despite the negative social attitudes and legal prohibitions, there is an  institutionalized form of bisexuality within Afghan culture.

This occurs when boys are kidnapped to act as sexual slaves for adult men, typically in a militia, or when an adult man buys sexual favors from young boys with money or gifts.

These activities are tolerated within Afghan culture because they are not perceived as being an expression of a LGBT-identity, but rather an expression of male power and dominance; as the boy in these situations is forced to assume the “female” role in the relationship.


Use of the death penalty remains persistently high in Yemen — the Middle Eastern country was ranked in 2012 by Amnesty International as one of the eight worst offenders for capital punishment in the world, with at least 28 cases that year.


 While sodomy carries the death penalty by stoning in Yemen, reports suggest the extreme punishment has not been used for it in recent years, according to Death Penalty Worldwide.

However, it’s extremely rare for a Yemeni to come out as gay, even though a thriving underground LGBT community exists.


Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, homosexuality has been outlawed – and lesbians, gays, and bisexuals have been punished by floggings and death sentences.


Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli, an influential Iranian cleric, said in a speech last April that homosexuals were inferior to dogs and pigs and blamed them for spread of Aids.



Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria. The maximum punishment in the twelve northern states that have adopted Sharia law is death by stoning. That law applies to all Muslims and to those who have voluntarily consented to application of the Shari’a courts.

gay executionCapture

“The Deadly Seven”―Countries With Death Penalty For Homosexuality

 Seven nations still carry out executions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Currently, the nations that prescribe capital punishment for homosexuals are: Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Yemen.
South Sudan, the world’s newest country, may become the eighth nation to legally condone the execution of gays; and, if religious extremists have their way, Uganda could become the ninth.
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA) released the fourth edition of its massive “State Sponsored Homophobia” report in 2010.
The most significant change in that edition: One-sixth of the world’s gays and lesbians were emancipated when India’s Delhi High Court legalized gay sex last the previous July.
Compared to the previous report, where they listed the 77 countries prosecuting people on ground of their sexual orientation, this year you will find ’only’ 76 in the same list, including the infamous 5 which put people to death for their sexual orientation: Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen [plus some parts of Nigeria and Somalia]
ILGA said that 76 nations criminalize “consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private over the age of consent.”  They are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Dominica, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
In addition, gay sex is illegal in the Cook Islands (a self-governing democracy in free association with New Zealand), the Gaza Strip in Palestine, and Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey.
“Naming and shaming homophobic countries is essential but it is also important to recognize countries where progress is being made,” said ILGA Co-Secretary General Renato Sabbadini.
“For this year we are happy to see the federal district of Mexico City and Argentina joining the community of states and local authorities recognizing equal marriage rights to same-sex couples―an example of genuine inclusiveness, which will set the standard for many to follow.” Download ILGA’s State-Sponsored Homophobia Report and Gay and Lesbian rights maps HERE.

Reports Say North Korea Publicly Executed 80 People

Reports are coming out of North Korea that the isolated nation publicly executed 80 people this month, some for minor offenses. According to the Los Angeles Times, at least on South Korean newspaper reported on the events, which were corroborated by at least one other news agency run by North Korean defectors. Among the alleged infractions that led to the executions were charges relating to prostitution and pornography, watching South Korean videos or possessing a Bible.

The killings reportedly took place in seven cities across the country on November 3. In the city of Wonsan:

Eight people — their heads covered with white bags — were tied to stakes at a local stadium in the city of Wonsan, before authorities shot them with a machine gun, according to the source.

Wonsan authorities gathered a crowd of 10,000 people, including children, at Shinpoong Stadium and forced them to watch the killings.

The relatives of the executed were also supposedly sent to work in labor camps as punishment.

The high body count marks what is for now the most lethal punitive action taken by Kim Jong-un since taking over as head of the government after the death of his father Kim Jong-il two years ago. Back in August, Kim Jong-un ordered the executions of approximately a dozen performers, including one who was believed to be a former lover.

source : Atlantic Wire

Saudi boy spared execution for shooting dead elderly relative after mistaking her for monkey??

A young Saudi Arabian boy has been spared execution for shooting dead an elderly relative after mistaking her for a monkey.

Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Saud is the King of Saudi Arabia.

 Family members told judges they believe the killing was an accident

A young Saudi Arabian boy has been spared execution for shooting dead an elderly relative after mistaking her for a monkey.


Family members attended a court in the city of Taif on Saturday, telling judges that they planned to pardon the boy and drop the case after coming to the conclusion that the killing had been an accident.

Local newspapers reported that, as a result of the pardon, the boy was sent to prison instead of being publicly executed by hanging. Residents of his village said they would now be campaigning for the boy to be released altogether.

Sabq daily newspaper reported that the boy killed his relative, who was in her 60s, while she was collecting leaves from a tree to feed to her sheep.

It is believed that he shot her from a distance after mistaking her for a monkey trying to damage one of the neighbourhood’s trees.

Saudi Arabia has a criminal justice system based on Sharia law, with more than 20 crimes punishable by death. Many executions – methods of which include beheadings, stoning, crucifixion and hanging – take place in public.

Despite the typically harsh punishments, victims of crime can opt to pardon the perpetrators by appealing to the Pardon Committee.According to Monitor.net, a pardon usually means a significantly reduced sentence – with the typical punishment for a pardoned murder just three years in jail.

Saudi victims of crime often choose to opt for a pardon as, in this deeply conservative Islamic country, the act of forgiveness is held in high regard – with benefactors hoping to be rewarded for their mercy in the afterlife.

Others choose to exonerate by opting to request dya – a form of financial compensation – from the criminal.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has also stepped in to pardon criminals from time-to-time, including during the 2007 case of a gang rape victim sentenced to prison and 200 lashes for having been alone with a man who was also brutally raped during the attack. The seven men convicted of violence were sentenced to between seven and nine years in prison.

source: The Independent


Boston bomb accused Dzhokhar Tsarnaev denies charge


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was wounded in a police manhunt days after the blasts

Boston Marathon bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all charges in his first appearance before a court packed with blast victims.

Mr Tsarnaev, 19, faces 30 counts of using a weapon of mass destruction in the two 15 April blasts that killed three, including an eight-year-old boy.

He appeared in shackles and an orange prison suit, and replied “not guilty” as the charges were read to the court.

Prosecutors could press for the death penalty for seventeen counts.

More than 260 people were injured when two pressure cooker bombs packed with nails, ball bearings and other shrapnel were detonated at the race finish line.

The suspect has also been charged over the death of a fourth person, a university police officer, who was allegedly shot dead by Mr Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan in the days after the attack.

He is also charged in a carjacking incident and with downloading internet material from Islamist radicals sometime before the blasts.

Relatives in court

People appeared outside the federal courthouse in Boston as early as 07:30 EST (12:30 BST) to claim a seat inside the court and two overflow rooms for a hearing that lasted just seven minutes.

Two of the suspect’s sisters watched the proceedings. One sobbed during the hearing while the other held a baby.

Before he was led out of the courtroom, the suspect seemed to smile and to gesture a kiss to his family members in the room.

Mr Tsarnaev was not in court last month during an indictment hearing, when a federal grand jury agreed that he should be tried on 30 charges.

His first court appearance took place at his hospital bedside, where he was recovering from injuries suffered in a shootout with police during the manhunt. He was later transferred to a prison hospital near Boston.

Mr Tsarnaev’s older brother Tamerlan, 26, was killed days after the attack during a massive police operation. He is also suspected of carrying out the attacks.

The brothers are from a family of ethnic Chechen Muslims from Russia and had been living in the US for about a decade.

More than 260 people were injured when two pressure cooker bombs packed with nails, ball bearings and other shrapnel were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

The bombing was the worst mass-casualty attack on US soil since 11 September 2001.



A makeshift memorial sits near the finish line of the Boston Marathon explosions on April 19, 2013.

BOSTON (AP) — A federal grand jury on Thursday returned a 30-count indictment against the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, and many of the charges carry the possibility of life in prison or the death penalty.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was indicted on charges including using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use, resulting in death.

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured in twin explosions near the finish line of the marathon on April 15. The charges also cover the death of MIT police officer Sean Collier, who authorities say was shot to death in his cruiser by the Tsarnaevs a few days after the bombing.

Tsarnaev’s older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed following a shootout with police on April 19.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured later that day hiding in a boat in a backyard in Watertown, Mass. According to the indictment, he wrote a message on the inside of the boat that said, among other things, “The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians,” ”I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished,” and “We Muslims are one body you hurt one you hurt us all.”

The Tsarnaev brothers had roots in the turbulent Russian regions of Dagestan and Chechnya, which have become recruiting grounds for Islamic extremists. They had been living in the United States for about a decade.

Authorities said each of the brothers placed a knapsack containing a shrapnel-packed pressure cooker bomb near the finish line of the 26.2-mile race. The bombs went off within seconds of one another.


The U.S. attorney’s office says 17 of the charges against Tsarnaev could bring life in prison or the death penalty.

Kuwait hangs ‘monster’ child rapist *video*(Warning!-Graphic!)

KUWAIT CITY : Authorities in Kuwait on Tuesday hanged a 33-year-old Egyptian man dubbed a “monster” for the abduction and rape of 17 children under the age of 10, the public prosecution said.

Hajjaj Saadi, who was handed five death sentences, complained shortly  before his execution that had not been given any assistance from the Egyptian  government, a witness said.

Saadi strongly denied in court that he had committed any of the crimes,  which shocked the Kuwaiti public, and insisted his confessions were extracted  under duress.

Arrested in July 2007 as he prepared to board a flight to Luxor in Egypt,  he became known as “the Hawalli monster” for the district near Kuwait City  where the crimes took place.


Kuwaitis capture Hajjaj Saadi, a 33-year-old Egyptian man, who raped 17 children under the age of 10. (Photo courtesy Daoo.com)

The authorities said Saadi had confessed to raping 17 boys and girls after  luring them onto rooftops in Hawalli, an area mainly inhabited by foreigners 12  kilometres (seven miles) south of the capital.

Another Egyptian man was executed at the same time after he was found  guilty of killing an Asian couple by setting their home ablaze and attempting  to murder another couple from Egypt the same way, said the prosecution.

Ahmad Abdulsalam al-Baili poured an inflammable material in the apartment  of the Asian pair and set it on fire in April 2008, causing their deaths, it  said in a statement.

Later he tried to kill an Egyptian couple the same way. They survived  despite suffering injuries.


The hangings were the second set of executions in Kuwait since it  reintroduced the death penalty following a six-year moratorium.

In April, the authorities in the oil-rich Gulf state executed a Saudi, a  Pakistani and a stateless Arab who were convicted of murder.–AFP

NO DEATH PENALTY! : Convicted Murderer Dr. Kermit Gosnell Gets Life in Prison!


By Tony Hanson and Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, convicted yesterday of murdering babies born alive, today agreed to give up his right to all future appeals in his case.

VIDEO—>Gosnell Speaks In Court, Strikes Deal To Avoid Death Penalty « CBS Philly

In exchange, Philadelphia prosecutors have agreed not to pursue the death penalty against the 72-year-old physician.

Gosnell was found guilty yesterday of first-degree murder for killing three babies born alive and viable during abortion procedures, and was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a woman who died at his clinic during a procedure (see related story).  He was also convicted of numerous other charges related to violations at his clinic.

Full Coverage of Dr. Kermit Gosnell Case

The deal comes amid a full day of negotiations between prosecutors and Gosnell’s defense attorneys.

Once the agreement was completed, Judge Jeffrey Minehart immediately imposed life in prison on Gosnell for two of the first-degree murder convictions.

The third first-degree murder case was held aside to give the family of the woman who died a chance to make a statement in court before Gosnell is sent to prison for the rest of his life.

Judge Minehart is expected to impose the third life sentence again Gosnell tomorrow.

UN compares Iraq death penalty use to a slaughterhouse

Iraq‘s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki greets supporters following a campaign rally in Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 15, 2013. Al-Maliki resumed his election campaign after the early voting for security forces in the country’s provincial elections. (AP Photo/ Nabil al-Jurani)

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.‘s top human rights officials is condemning Iraq’s widespread use of the death penalty, comparing it to a slaughterhouse.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says Iraq’s justice system is “too seriously flawed to warrant even a limited application of the death penalty,” let alone its execution of 33 people in the past month or its plans to put another 150 people to death.

Pillay said in a statement Friday that “executing people in batches like this is obscene. It is like processing animals in a slaughterhouse.”

Her office says Iraq executed 129 people in 2012.

At a press briefing her spokesman, Rupert Colville, derided the executions as a “conveyor belt of executions” and said 1,400 people are believed to be on death row in Iraq.

source: cnsnews

The Executioner’s Tale: A Talk With One of Yemen’s Designated Killers

A soldier, not the executioner mentioned in this story, prepares to shoot a man convicted of raping and murdering an 11-year-old in front of a prison in Sanaa, Yemen

With a toothless grin Saleh Shamsadeen sits in the prison governor’s office, right beside the family of an inmate sentenced to death. Clasping his aging AK-47 rifle, he jokes that their lawyer is trying to take his next customer away from him. As one of Yemen’s executioners, Shamsadeen, 65, has shot dead at least 300 people on behalf of the state in a 12-year career in one of the country’s provincial prisons, far from the more congested urban penitentiaries. That number suggests far more people are being executed than is officially acknowledged.

In figures released on Wednesday, Amnesty International welcomed a downward trend in countries carrying out the death penalty, including Yemen. But the country — with at least 28 executions recorded in 2012 — ranks sixth in the world behind China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the U.S., according to the annual report.

Executions at the prison in Ibb, Yemen’s fifth largest city, take place between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. The prisoner lies facedown on a blue tarpaulin. A doctor with a stethoscope locates the heart through the condemned man’s back and marks it with a large dot surrounded by a circle in red pen. The verdict is then read out. A brief pause ensues to allow the family of the person wronged — most likely killed — by the prisoner to decide if they are going to forgive the prisoner. If so, the proceedings will come to a halt. Shamsadeen says, in that event, he swings his gun to the sky and fires off the bullets in celebration.

If the aggrieved family remains silent, however, Shamsadeen will straddle the prisoner, aim at the dot and circle and fire at least two bullets at point-blank range. On two occasions, he says, it took 10 bullets to kill the condemned.

The numbers Shamsadeen cites suggest that executions in Yemen far exceed the Amnesty International figures. Certainly the 2012 statistic of 28 seems small. “I killed 101 people in 2001,” he says, recalling his busiest year and blaming the spike in deaths on a particularly officious judge. He is currently running at about three executions a month in Ibb, where public executions were abandoned in 2004 after several gatherings came under attack by armed family members and fellow tribesmen attempting to make last-minute rescues.

Yemen is one of the most highly armed countries in the world — second only to the U.S. Shootings and gunfights are common, and many of the death sentences are handed out for murder, according to strict Shari‘a, which metes out judgment on the basis of an eye for an eye, a life for a life. The real figure for executions carried out in Yemen is further clouded by the country’s tribal system, which acts as a substitute to state rule of law in rural areas untouched and ungoverned by central government and where justice is carried out via tribal sheiks. How many people are executed under urf (unwritten tribal law) rather than under the dysfunctional state judicial system is unknown.

Human Rights Minister Hooria Mashhour admits there are many problems within Yemen’s judicial system — including corruption — that need to be addressed, but capital punishment will not be one of them. “Our system is based on Shari‘a. For qisas [the Islamic law of retaliation] there has to be a death penalty,” she says. Families of victims can opt to be paid “blood money” instead of pressing for execution — but in one of the poorest countries in the world, few of the condemned can afford such restitution.

Figures released annually by Amnesty International since 2007 show at least 165 people have been executed in Yemen in the past five years, but the rights group admits accurate figures are hard to come by. “Finding out the number of people executed in Yemen is not easy because of this lack of information,” says Dina el-Mamoun of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program. “The tribe is more powerful than the state,” Mashhour points out. “All are equal in front of urf. But state justice at the moment doesn’t guarantee equality.”

Mashhour says Yemen’s judicial system is set for review during the current period of fragile political transition following a yearlong uprising in 2011 in which President Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to hand over power to his deputy. The ongoing National Dialogue, launched last month, will precede the writing of a new constitution. Says Mashhour, “The National Dialogue will give us the chance to make this change to a fully independent judicial system.”

Shamsadeen, who was a prison guard for 20 years before taking on the role of executioner, likes to practice gallows humor — few other people are qualified. “I was in the appeals court once when a prisoner had their death sentence overturned,” he says. “When the judge made the announcement, I stood up and shouted, ‘I object. I object.’” He laughs at his own joke.

But the regularity of the executions takes its toll on the executioners as well. Talking to TIME on the night before carrying out a death penalty, Shamsadeen reflected on his work, for which he receives $140 a month for basic guard duty and an extra $47 per execution. “I am not happy to kill people,” Shamsadeen says before describing how on one occasion he refused the order to execute an inmate. Mohammed Taher Samoum was 13 when he was arrested after playing with a gun that went off and killed a friend in 1999. Eleven years later Shamsadeen was ordered to execute him. “I’d known him since he was a young boy in the prison. He was like a son to me.” That apparently has saved the young man’s life — so far. The other prison guards, he explains, “said I must have a heart of stone [because of the work], and if I didn’t have the heart to kill him, no one would.”

Asked if he would recommend his job to anyone else, he replies, “Anyone except my children.” Then he oils his rifle and checks his bullets in preparation for the following morning. “The pain keeps you awake at night. I can’t sleep sometimes remembering the people I’ve killed.”

source: Time World


 Excerpted from THE ATLANTIC WIRE:

An Army judge in Texas just made a somewhat unconventional ruling in the trial of Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan: She refused to let him plead guilty. Why? It would enable him to avoid execution. Apparently, the Army would not be satisfied to see this alleged mass murderer simply go to jail for a few decades. It appears the prosecution is out for blood.

The situation is a little bit dicey, when you think about it. After Hasan’s lawyers made it very clear that Hasan would plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty, Col. Tara Osborn made it very clear that that wasn’t going to happen on Wednesday when she ruled out any guilty pleas. Since it’s against Army rules to plead guilty to a capital offense, the defense abandoned its original plan of pleading guilty to 13 counts of premeditated murder and instead asked the court to allow Hasan to plead guilty to 13 counts of unpremeditated murder, a charge that does not carry the death penalty.

On Wednesday, the judge said no way since that “would be the functional equivalent of pleading guilty to a capital offense.” Ditto to pleading guilty to the 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. That would complicate a not guilty plea to the murder charges.

This is a real “no mercy” sort of situation isn’t it? However, the general public probably has little doubt whether Hasan was the one who ran around Fort Hood, Texas in 2009 shooting his fellow soldiers and screaming “Allah Akbar.”

Hasan is suspected of killing 13 people and wounding 32 others, and it’s become glaringly apparent that the Army is not going to give him a break in court. This lastest move is an especially powerful one on the judge’s part. The United States military hasn’t executed a prisoner since 1961, so one might say this is the trial of a generation. The Army intends to do it right.

source: Pat Dollard

Saudi Arabia may end execution by beheading as it runs short of swordsmen

Saudi Arabia may be forced to change its method of execution from beheading to the firing squad after running out of swordsmen, according to reports.

Saudi Arabia may end execution by beheading as it runs short of swordsmen
In recent times Saudi Arabia has executed 70 to 80 people annually Photo: ALAMY

 An official in the ultra-conservative kingdom said that sword-bearing executioners “are not readily available everywhere and on some occasions, executions were marred by confusion as the executioner was late in showing up at the designated public place”.

The unnamed bureaucrat told the daily Al Youm that in the age of easy digital communication, executioners’ lateness was “causing confusion and sparking speculation and rumours through modern technology”, a remark that perhaps hinted at public opposition.

A special inter-ministerial committee was examining the possible change to a method that has been used for centuries and which Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia claim is based on the Koran.

No specific reason was given for the shortage of executioners, but tiring squads have occasionally been used in the past, and the committee has reportedly found that it “does not constitute a religious violation”.

Regional governors have already been given the discretion to resort to the firing squad, the paper said, if sharia courts fail to specify beheading.

source: Telegraph



Saudi Arabia delays execution of seven facing crucifixion and firing squad

Security official says king will review sentences handed to group for armed robbery


King Abdullah, centre, will review the sentences of the seven sentenced to death, a security official said. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

 The executions of seven Saudis sentenced to death by crucifixion and firing squad have been postponed for a week.

A Saudi security official said King Abdullah would review the sentences. He met families of the seven on Sunday.

The official said the ruler of the south-western province of Asir, Prince Faisal bin Abdel Aziz, had ordered the postponement.

The seven were juveniles at the time they were arrested for armed robbery, a capital offence in Saudi Arabia. One told Associated Press by telephone from prison that they were tortured to force them to confess and denied access to lawyers.

Human rights groups had called on the Saudi government to cancel the executions.