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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

One Last Comment on Saudi Arabia

Now that I'm clear of the Sand Kingdom and the Saudi Thought Police, there is one last (maybe last) comment. No pictures for this and you will certainly thank me. They believe in Capital Punishment. Of the Beheading variety. Going downtown we passed this sort of open area where the sentences are meted out. Free to all. Just walk up to watch. On Fridays. Fortunately we had arrived too late for last week's show.

One of our hosts took great pains to explain how the system works. He emphasized that we in the West didn't understand the whole process. He wanted to make clear how one could find him or herself kneeling down in front of hundreds of people on a particular Friday morning waiting for that final moment.

So it goes like this: If you commit what we call a Capital Murder offense, pre-meditated would be our term, and were convicted (not so sure if you get a jury of your peers. But, I'm betting not.) there are three possible results.

First, Forgiveness. EVERY relative within shouting distance must agree to any of the options. So husband, wife, mother, father, children, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. Everyone has a vote, so to speak. If they all decide to be merciful, the perp is off the hook.

Second, compensation. How much is needed I couldn't calculate. It probably varies depending on the person. I heard that for the rough equivalent of $100,000 (about 375,000 Saudi Rials) the family of the guilty could buy the guy out of trouble.

Finally, revenge. The final option. They do make it quick. The convicted is blindfolded and forced to kneel. They jab him in the ribs with a sharp point. that forces him to instinctively stiffen, arch his back and thereby raise his head. Then Bam!, it's over.

Barbaric perhaps, by our Western mores. But, then the electric chair or gas chamber are pretty barbaric too. It all depends upon where you're living.

It's all very much "Code of Hammarabi."

1 comment:

Julie Montana said...

In general, I am opposed to capital punishment...part of the reason is because here in the U.S. a death row inmate can sit there for 20 years before he or she is put to death! That in itself is cruel. At least in KSA it is quick.
Also, there is a serious disconnect between the victims' family and the perpetrator, shouldn't they be allowed a say in the whole thing? Although, my main opposition is that it is just wrong to have state supported capital punishment. Anyway, that is my 2 cents