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Saudi Arabia denies sentence to paralyse convict

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 15:01

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia denied on Tuesday reports that a court in the kingdom has ordered a punishment of paralysis for a man who committed a crime that paralysed another man.

The reports about the sentence, which sparked condemnation after Amnesty International urged the Saudi authorities to annul it, were "false," a justice ministry spokesman said.

The ministry also used its Twitter account to refute the reports about the sentence, which Britain`s Foreign Office described as "grotesque".

"In response to reports by some media about a court sentence of paralysis for a man, the ministry clarifies that such a claim is completely false," it said.

The ministry said that, to the contrary, "the judge decided to dismiss demands for such a sentence".

It urged media outlets and groups that "claim to lobby for rights," in a clear indication to Amnesty, to "verify" information.

Amnesty said last week that Ali al-Khawahir, 24, was reportedly sentenced to Qisas, or retribution, and could be paralysed from waist down if he fails to pay compensation of one million riyals ($270,000).

The London-based human rights watchdog said Khawahir had stabbed a friend of his in the back in 2003, leaving him paralysed. The convict was 14 years old at the time.

It said a similar sentence of paralysis was given in Saudi Arabia in 2010, but that it was unknown whether it had been carried out.

The ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom imposes several forms of corporal punishment attributed to Islamic sharia law, ranging from flogging to amputation and beheading.


First Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 15:01

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