Saudi Arabia Execution of 5 Yemenis: Bodies Hoisted for Public to See

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | May 22, 2013 11:14 AM EST

On Tuesday, five Yemenis convicted of murder and robbery were executed in Saudi Arabia, with their bodies later on hoisted from a crane for the entire public to see, a stern warning that in this Middle Eastern oil-rich nation, justice is served eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.

The five Yemeni men were identified as Khaled, Adel and Qasim Saraa, Saif Ali Al Sahari and Khaled Showie Al Sahari.

According to the Interior Ministry, the five Yemenis were convicted for founding a criminal gang that robbed shops in different parts of the country. They were also convicted for killing a Saudi national.

It was the court that had ordered their bodies be displayed in full public view because their crimes "indicate that evil and corruption persist." The Yemenis also had no respect for "sanctities and the blood of others."

"By the grace of God, the security authorities were able to apprehend the perpetrators. Investigation resulted in charging them with committing their crimes," the ministry said in a statement that was carried by the official SPA news agency.

"A sharia verdict was issued against them affirming their indictment," it said.

The kingdom is known for its strict interpretation of Islam. Convictions adultery, armed robbery, apostasy, drug smuggling, kidnapping, rape, witchcraft, sorcery and murder are punishable by death, either by the sword or a firing squad.

Saudi Arabia also executes individuals for crimes committed while under 18 years old, as in the case of a Sri Lankan domestic worker who was beheaded in January for allegedly killing an infant in her care when the worker was still 17 years old.

Also in March, seven men were shot in a public square, were two of them were under 18 when arrested.

A witness in the town of Jizan, southwest Saudi Arabia, where Tuesday's execution took place, told AFP the five men were "beheaded by the sword." Their bodies were then later hanged from a rope tied to their waists on a horizontal bar between two cranes near the University of Jizan.

The town of Jizan is near the Yemen border.

Tuesday's execution brings to 47 the number of state killings in Saudi Arabia so far this year, according to Amnesty International, an increase of 18 compared from a year ago, and a rise of 29 from 2011.

Tuesday's summary executions meant at least 12 people have been meted the death penalty in Saudi Arabia in May alone, Amnesty International said. Of those killed this year, 19 were foreigners.

However, rates of executions in Saudi Arabia are believed to be higher than declared, following reports of secret and unannounced executions.

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