Saudi Arabia to Behead Hajj Pilgrim
Tue, October 29, 2013
A Bangladesh group staged a mock beheading to protest Saudi Arabia's use of the brutal punishment. (Photo: © Reuters)
The agency reports that Salaam Kazim was arrested for crying in the Baqi Cemetery after being told to stop by Saudi security forces.
The cemetery is a point of contention between Sunni and Shiite Muslims after the King of Saudi Arabia demolished the mausoleums at the site in 1925. The destruction, which was decried internationally, included the mausoleum containing the remains of Mohammed’s grandson, the second in line of imams revered in Shiite Islam.
In the course of his arrest, Kazim objected to the presence of the Saudis (who adhere to the Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam) being in the cemetery and summarily cursed the forces and their teachings. Kazim was arrested immediately, taken to court and sentenced to be beheaded after the Hajj.
The incident comes on the heels of a statement released by Amnesty International about their latest report on Saudi Arabia’s dismal human rights record. Amnesty released the statement ahead of a UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva to discuss the Kingdom’s human rights record.
Amnesty’s latest report titled "Saudi Arabia: Unfulfilled Promises," criticizes the Kingdom for “ratchet[ing] up the repression" in the last four years. Since 2009, the Amnesty report says that Saudi Arabia has engaged in "an ongoing crackdown including arbitrary arrests and detention, unfair trials, torture and other ill-treatment.”
The UN meeting in Geneva, meanwhile, saw 80 of the 102 countries who spoke praising the Kingdom for its advancement of human rights and adherence to international standards.
Countries such as Egypt praised the Saudis saying, “We commend Saudi Arabia’s progress to protect and promote human rights, and welcome work done to strengthen role of women..."
Even France weighted in on the side of the Saudi’s saying, "We commend Saudi Arabia with its progress in the role of women in society..."
Ironically, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are forbidden to drive. In addition, their freedom is severely restricted by the legal requirement to be accompanied in public by a male guardian at all times. In the sharia-adherent Kingdom, women can be publicly whipped for the “crime” od being raped.
Denmark also lauded the Saudi’s human rights record, declaring, "We commend Saudi Arabia's progress in the promotion of rights for women in recent years…"
In contrast, the Amnesty report cites the imprisonment of well-known human rights activists, including the two co-founders of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, each of whom were sentenced in March to a minimum of 10 years in prison for the “cybercrime” of using the social media forum Twitter to criticize the lack of political and social freedom in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, the report lists the Kingdom’s "systemic discrimination of women in both law and practice," as well as their discrimination of minority groups (including Shiite Muslims) and their abuse of migrant workers.
The report continues to shed light on Saudi Arabia’s record of "executions based on summary trials and 'confessions' extracted under torture." According to the AFP, the Saudis have executed 69 people this year alone. (Under sharia law practiced by the Kingdom, crimes such as apostasy, murder, rape and even armed robbery and drug trafficking are punishable by death.)
Moreover, "Saudi Arabia's previous promises to the UN have been proven to be nothing but hot air," said Amnesty's Middle East-North Africa director Philip Luther, accusing the kingdom of relying "on its political and economic clout to deter the international community from criticizing its dire human rights record."
Luther added, "For all the peaceful activists that have been arbitrary detained, tortured or imprisoned in Saudi Arabia since, the international community has a duty to hold the authorities to account."