Saudi Arabia executes prince in a rare royal death sentence

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 6:27pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 6:26pm

Saudi Arabia says it has executed a prince who fatally shot another man in a melee, a rare death sentence carried out against a member of the kingdom’s extensive royal family.

The Interior Ministry said late on Tuesday it had executed Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabeer in Riyadh. It did not describe how the sentence was carried out, though the Sunni-ruled kingdom often beheads the condemned in public.

A ministry statement carried on the state-run Saudi Press Agency warned “whoever dares to commit such a crime that the Shariah penalty is awaiting.”

Saudi Arabia is among the world’s top executioners.

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Such royal executions are rare, but have happened before. In 1975, the kingdom beheaded Faisal bin Musaid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for assassinating King Faisal.

Tweeting to more than 5 million followers under the hashtags of “justice is the basis of governance” and “decisive Salman orders retribution for a prince,” billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, founder of business conglomerate Kingdom Holding, prayed for mercy for the killer and his victim.

Another member of the royal family, Khalid Al Saud, said on Twitter that “this is Allah’s law and this is the approach of our blessed state.”

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Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem, a prominent Saudi lawyer and activist, described the execution as “great news,” saying “the greatest thing is that the citizen can see the law being applied to everyone.”

Saudi authorities have executed more than 108 people this year, including 47 men convicted of terrorism-related crimes, according to a Human Rights Watch report released in July. There were 158 executions in 2015, it said.

One of those executed was prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose death in January sparked a diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Associated Press and Bloomberg