An "horrific" public execution and crucifixion of a man in Saudi Arabia has been condemned by Amnesty International. Ahmed bin 'Adhaib bin 'Askar al-shamlani al-'Anzi was beheaded and his body crucified in a public place in Riyadh on Friday.
He had been sentenced for the alleged abduction and murder of a father and son. He was also punished for previous offences of Luwat (homosexual intercourse), possession of sexually explicit materials and for raising a gun against security forces seeking to arrest him.
"It is horrific that beheading and crucifixions still happen," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Programme Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa programme. "King Abdullah should show true leadership and commute all death sentences if Saudi Arabia is to have any role to play as a global leader or member of the G20."
Trial proceedings in Saudi Arabia fall way short of international fair trial standards. They usually take place behind closed doors without adequate legal representation. Convictions are often made on the basis of "confessions" obtained under duress, including torture or other ill-treatment during incommunicado detention.
Those who are sentenced to death are often not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them or of the date of execution until the morning they are taken out and beheaded.
Saudi Arabia continues to defy the UN General Assembly resolution adopted in 2007 and 2008 calling for a moratorium on executions.
Amnesty International recorded a total of 102 executions in Saudi Arabia in 2008. Due to the strict secrecy of the criminal justice system in Saudi Arabia, it is not possible to know how many have been sentenced to death, but Amnesty International is aware of at least 136 individuals currently believed to be awaiting execution.