Saudi Arabia Crucifies Murderer In Rare Punishment

REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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Saudi Arabia executed and then crucified a man in the city of Mecca on Wednesday, employing a rare form of punishment the kingdom uses for grave crimes.

Elias Abulkalaam Jamaleddeen was accused of breaking into the home of a woman from Myanmar and stabbing her to death, Bloomberg reported, citing the Saudi Interior Ministry.

He was further charged with attempting to rape a separate woman and kill a man whose house he also broke into.

Saudi Arabia frequently uses the death penalty for a range of crimes including murder, adultery and apostasy, but crucifixions are much rarer. Crucifixions in the kingdom often entail hanging a body in public after the condemned has been beheaded.

Wednesday’s crucifixion was upheld in Saudi courts and endorsed by King Salman, the Associated Press reported, citing a Saudi Press Agency announcement. At the direction of Salman’s heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has moved to liberalize some of its famously restrictive social policies, but the kingdom still retains its medieval Islamic character in matters of criminal justice. (RELATED: Saudi Arabia Seemingly Threatens 9/11-Style Attack On Canada)

Saudi Arabia executed at least 146 people in 2017, according to Amnesty International. The U.S., with a population roughly 10 times larger than Saudi Arabia, executed 23 people the same year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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