Saudi Arabia executed eight Bangladeshi citizens Friday for their alleged involvement in an armed robbery in which an Egyptian security guard was killed. The executions were carried out through the standard Saudi practice of beheading.
The executions brought Saudi Arabia's 2011 beheading total to at least 58, Amnesty International (AI) reported, more than double the 2010 figure, and 20 of those beheaded in 2011 have been foreign nationals. AI noted the Saudi judicial process often deprives the accused of legal representation or due process recognized by Western standards.
The Saudi ambassador to Bangladesh defended the executions and the Saudi legal system. "All legal procedures were followed to ensure that the trial was fair and transparent," Abdullah Al Bussairy said. He also noted the victim's family turned down an offer of "blood money," (diya) something allowed under Islamic law. Diya places lower "value" on the life of non-Muslims and values a woman's life at half that of a man.
"The Saudi government acts to implement the law of Allah. We had nothing to do but to uphold the sanctions of Allah," Al Bussairy added. "The sharia law has been implemented through the execution."
Amnesty International is not the only human rights organization expressing concern over how the kingdom implements the law of Allah. The United Nations human rights office expressed distress over the issue and called on Saudi Arabia to implement a moratorium on its use of the death penalty.