This Tuesday an unlikely event took place in Saudi Arabia. The country executed a Saudi prince as a penalty for committing murder. This is the first time in forty years that a member of the royal family receives the death penalty. The prince received the conviction for fatally shooting a man during a brawl.
The state news service of Saudi Arabia reported that Prince Turki bin Saud bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabeer died this Tuesday in Riyadh. The reporting did not say anything about the method used. Usually, a death penalty in Saudi Arabia means being beheaded in a public square.
Some Praise the Impartiality of the Saudi Justice System
The reactions to the event in Saudi society were diverse. Some used social media to express their astonishment, saying that they didn’t think such a thing could happen. Others saw what happened as a sign that the justice system in Saudi Arabia works very well. They credited the justice system with being fair and unbiased. Justice in Saudi Arabia follows Shariah law very strictly. Human rights groups and governments in the west have often criticized Saudi Arabia’s justice system for punishments that can be harsh and arbitrary.
A prominent lawyer in Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Rahman al-Lahim, praised the equalitarian nature of the law on Twitter.
“The greatest thing is that the citizen sees the law applied to everyone, and that there are not big people and other small people.”
Said Abdul-Rahman al-Lahim.
Other reactions on Twitter lauded the attitude of the monarch, King Salman. An Arabic hashtag was trending that could translate as “Decisive Salman orders retribution for the prince”
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, one of the few remaining in the world. The royal family has thousands of members and they enjoy a life that is very different from the rest of the population. They benefit from privileges reserved only for them. But Prince Turki bin Saud bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabeer still had to answer for his crime.
The Law Was the Same for the Prince
The last time a member of the Saudi royal family was executed was in 1975. Prince Faisal bin Musaid received the death penalty for assassinating King Faisal. The state beheaded him in Riyadh.
The report from the state news media did not provide any biographical information about Prince Turki bin Saud bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabeer. However, a member of the royal family, Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, has said that the prince was from one of the prominent branches of the Saudi royal family. But that did not seem to matter in court. Nor did it gain him any extra credit with King Salman.
“The king has always said that there is no difference in the law between princes and others, and I think that this is clear manifestation of the reality of that fact.”
Said Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud.
So far this year, there were 143 executions in Saudi Arabia, according to Human Rights Watch, a group that opposes the death penalty.
Image source: here.