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A member of the royal family in Saudi Arabia was found guilty of murder and executed for his crime on October 18. It is rare for a royal family member to be executed in Saudi Arabia; the last time this occurred was in 1975, when Prince Faisal bin Musaid was beheaded.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabir was convicted of shooting a Saudi national during a group quarrel. The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia approved the verdict for his execution, and the decision has been “widely praised in the kingdom for establishing that the rule of law applies to everyone including royals,” says Bruce Riedel, senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Intuition.

Not much is known about the personal life of the prince. It is typical that conservative Islamic countries do not release details about royal family members. However, the New York Times claims that he was a prominent member of “one of the most important branches of the royal family.” Even so, he was not in the line of descendants, and his relations to his family did not have an impact on the court while a decision was being made.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, a member of the royal family, told the New York Times that “the king has always said that there is no difference in the law between princes and others, and I think that [the court’s decision] is clear manifestation of the reality of that fact.”

According to the Interior Ministry, “the death penalty showed that it cared about ‘security, justice and safety for all.’” Saudi Arabia follows a strict and conservative view of Wahhabi Islam, which holds that criminal acts must be tried in compliance with the Sharia law.

The execution was enforced by King Salman, an unusual occurrence in his position. People have been active on social media to support the decision, despite the fact that he was a member of the royal family. A hashtag has also been trending on Twitter, stating: “Salman the divisive order, the punishing of a prince,” translated from Arabic to English.

King Salman ascended to power in January 2015 after his half-brother passed away. He was 79 when he rose to power, and was “viewed as a pragmatic and cautious reformer, much like his predecessor,” according to CNN’s Becky Anderson. As an experienced leader, Salman was familiar with the laws and policies in the Arab world, but he was also the family sheriff, often making sure offenses were dealt with minimal publicity.

According to CNN World News, King Salman is now being praised for “enforcing the law equally,” despite the growing number of executions in the country. Amnesty International reports that at least 158 individuals have been executed last year, which is a record high since 1995. At least 94 people have been executed in the past five months.

1 COMMENT

  1. Articles everywhere on the web share positive reviews of this- it is clear that What is at debate here isn’t whether or not one stands by capital punishment- nor are we debating how these executions are ‘executed’. I don’t think any government would allow anyone to film an execution and place it online.
    If you went onto YouTube – you wouldn’t happen to come across a playlist for ”gas chamber executions in the states” where names and mentioned and life is taken on camera- men meeting their end? Nope. I believe it is absolutely understandable. For the sake of the victim’s family and the man who committed this crime to keep more dignity in his very last moments as well.
    It is all over social media indeed, this punishment—carried out on the direct orders of King Salman—challenged a lazy assumption sometimes made that Saudi Arabia is a corrupt country where the rich, well-connected and the powerful get to do whatever they like.
    But the beheading execution of Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabir has shown that Saudi Arabia’s brand of Sharia justice applies to the wealthy and titled too.
    One video shows King Salman telling officials that “any citizen can sue the royal family and seek justice.” The video has gone viral in the kingdom.
    Many agree that this is apparent and clear evidence of the justice which sharia law affirms,
    They are referring to the conservative Islamic codes that govern Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations. Others said the ruling demonstrated “the king’s integrity in treating all citizens equally” and that “nobody is above the law.”

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