Muslim sharia call calls for capital punishment for a number of crimes, including adultery, theft, homosexual practices, and apostasy. Among those crimes for which sharia calls for death is murder, too. On October 18, a prince of Saudi Arabia was executed in Riyadh. Prince Turkic bin Saud al-Kabir was found guilty in 2014 of shooting a fellow Saudi subject to death, according to official media. This is a rare case in which a member of the powerful ruling Saud family has subjected to the ultimate penalty.
 
The prince pleaded guilty to the 2012 shooting death of Adel al-Mohaimeed after a brawl, according to a statement by the Saudi Ministry of Interior. While the official statement did not aver the method of execution, most convicted criminals in Saudi Arabia lose their heads to a swordsman. This is done in public in much the same way that hangings were conducted in the United States in former times.
 
The Saudi family, which has aided in spreading the very strict form of Islam known as Wahabism, has rarely seen its members executed. A prominent case in the past was Faisal bin Musaid al Saud, who assassinated his uncle, King Faisal, in 1975. The Saudi clan is believed to have several thousand members. They receive monthly checks, while the most senior princes are known to enjoy tremendous wealth and power. Very few hold important political positions. The statement from the Ministry of Interior said of the recent execution, "The government.. is keen to keep order, stabilize security and bring about justice through implementing the rules prescribed by Allah...."
 
A ministry statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency warned, “whoever dares to commit such a crime that the Shariah penalty is awaiting.” The Oil Kingdom is among the world's governments most active in committing capital punishment. 
 
Kabir was the 134th person put to death this year, according to AFP news. local or foreigner put to death this year, according to an AFP tally of ministry statements. According to Amnesty International, the toll for 2015 was 158 death sentences meted out. Arab News quoted the victim's uncle, Abdul Rahman al-Falaj, as saying that the death sentence in this latest case reflects the kingdom's "fair justice system."  Saudi Arabia has been ranked the third-most prolific executioner after Iran and Pakistan. However, the number of instances of capital punishment in China is not known but is believed to be much higher. Murder and drug trafficking account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for "terrorism" on a single day in January of this year. The Saudi government contends that despite foreigners' concerns over the fairness of its juridical system that the death penalty is a deterrent.
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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