Saudi Arabia is known for its adamant enforcement of the death penalty and has to date executed numerous criminals who were convicted on charges ranging from drug smuggling, sexual assault to murder. So, it comes as a delightful surprise when we hear that a Saudi prince has helped stop a man from being executed, even though it is not at all a common practice for royalty to interfere in such matters, as their laws are implemented vigorously. The young Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal has reportedly paid a whopping $1.33 million or SAR 5 million in blood money to help free a Saudi citizen who has been jailed and was on death row for the murder.[irp]
The prince is a business magnate having interests in many companies, having a personal net worth of $20-30 billion and has previously donated to noble and charitable causes numerous times and continues his philanthropic work through various organizations that he helps. Prince Alwaleed has also donated generously to the Palestinian cause and it is because of this support that his donation of $10 million to New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, after the September 11 attacks was returned to the prince. The prince is very vocal about the Gaza issue but that has not stopped him from helping many US-based charities and setting up scholarships in the United States.
The man that the prince has helped get off death row is Muhammad Al Aqili, who is a Saudi citizen and has been convicted since 2012 when he took the life of another man during an altercation in January of the same year. Although he had been sentenced to death, the victim's family had agreed to forgive Al Aqili if he pays SAR23 million or around $7million in blood money by May 4 2015. His family had managed to gather SAR18 million and the Prince completed the amount, which reportedly made al Aqilis mother ecstatic.
Al Aqilis mother will finally see her son as a free man after being jailed since being convicted, and until the money had been gathered for his release. Prince Alwaleed has issued a statement from his Twitter account that he does not usually involve himself in such legal matters but had to save the life of al Aqili. The victim’s family has asked al Aqili not to enter Riyadh after his release as a gesture of goodwill to them.[irp]
This story is a rarity in a world, where acts of generosity such as this hardly come along. Although taking a life is a horrid act saving a life is a great thing to do. I personally believe the death penalty should be reserved for the ghastliest cases, monetary compensation called blood money is allowed in Islam and so allows us to save a life instead of losing both the lives of the victim and the criminal. This law helps if the victim was the primary bread earner in the family and the family of the victim could use the money more than the life of the criminal.
Source: Saudi Gazette