Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state where the source of all the laws and regulations is Islamic Rules and Quran. In Saudi Arabia, the death penalty is imposed on serious crimes. I have explained below the crimes upon which death penalty is imposed. The death penalty in Saudi Arabia is imposed in two ways i.e. beheading and stoning. It is said that almost 400 people are executed in Saudi Arabia every year.
Method of Execution in Saudi Arabia
Beheading: Beheading is the common method of execution in Saudi Arabia. In almost all the cases with one exception, criminals are executed in this way. Executor waves his sword and head of the criminal drops down to the land. It is said that this is the least painful way of execution.
Stoning: Public stoning is used to execute individuals who are involved in adultery. This is the most painful way of execution. People who are involved in rape or Zina (physical relation without marriage) are stoned to death in public.
Crimes Punishable by Death in Saudi Arabia
Murder is punishable by death or blood money. Murder means intentional or unintentional killing of a human being due to any reason. It includes the traffic accidents as well. If you are at fault in an accident caused the life of any person, you have murdered him intentionally and if it was a mistake of other party or both parties, it means unintentional murder. However, acceptance of blood money in place of execution depends upon the heirs of the victim.
Aggravated Murder is punishable by death in all the cases. This offense may include (but not be limited to) offenses such as murder during robbery or murder involving seclusion, treachery, or other methods rendering the victim helpless.
Terrorism is punishable to death irrespective of it resulted in the death of people or not. This crime is punishable by death as per Fatwa issued on 30th August 1988. However, terrorism has not been defined in that Fatwa. It remains at the discretion of Judge to establish if the act constitutes to be terrorism or not.
Zina is punishable by death for both Male and Female. Zina means physical relations between man and woman without having a marital relation. However, in the case of Zina, penalties are different for married and unmarried people. Married people are stoned to death as mentioned above and the penalty for unmarried people is 100 lashes. Zina requires penetration of the male and female genital parts. Recommended: Punishment of Adultery and Homosexuality in Saudi Arabia
Rape resulted in Death is punishable by death. If the rapist is married, he/she is stoned to death and if he/she is unmarried he/she is beheaded.
Rape not resulting in Death is also punishable by death. The penalty for a rapist is the same as the penalty of Zina. Married people are stoned to death as mentioned above and the penalty for unmarried people is 100 lashes. Rape requires penetration of the male and female genital parts.
The harshest penalty is upon the persons involved in the smuggling of drugs or narcotics. The penalty for the smuggler of drugs or narcotics is sentenced to death. A person who illegally brings the drugs or narcotics from some other country to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is considered Smuggler. The person who receives narcotics and distributes it to the dealers is also treated to be a smuggler. Penalties on the other people involved in drugs is explained in this link.
Conversion of Muslim into Non-Muslim is a crime punishable by death. If someone after accepting Islam and becoming Muslim turns away from Islam and accepts some other religion, he is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.
Homosexuality has the same penalty as Zina if two men are involved. In the case of two women, it is at the discretion of the judge to decide the penalty.
Treason is punishable by death. It is for the Judge to decide what constitutes or not constitute treason.
Offenders Excluded from Death Penalty
Pregnant Women are excluded to be penalized to the death. The reason for imposing this law is that execution of a pregnant woman will result in the execution of two lives including the life of an unborn child who has not committed any offense.
Women with Small Children are excluded to be penalized to death. A woman is not beheaded or stoned unless her child becomes two years old. Medical Science has proved that in first two years, milk of mother is the best diet for any child. However, she is executed after her child becomes two years old.
Mentally Ill People are also excluded from the penalty of death. A person who does not have a mental awareness of the consequences of his acts is not criminally responsible beyond payment of compensation.
Minor cannot be given a penalty of death. He cannot be executed for the crimes he has committed during the time when he/she was minor. However, the definition of minor in Saudi Arabia is different from other parts of the world. In Saudi Arabia, minor means a person who has not reached to the majority. It can be anytime after the age of 15 for men and after the age of 9 for women.