Eye for an Eye: Paralyzing a Criminal in Saudi Arabia


The Saudi Arabian justice system often times punishes criminals using the ancient "an eye for an eye" system. But what do you do with a defendant whose attack left a man paralyzed? Well, you try to paralyze him too, apparently.

A Saudi judge has asked several hospitals whether they would conduct surgery on a man's spinal cord so he's left paralyzed, just like he left his victim paralyzed when he attacked him with a cleaver.

At least one hospital has refused to do it on ethical grounds, saying, "inflicting such harm is not possible." The other hospitals either haven't responded yet, or their responses were not made public.

The victim in this case is the one who asked the judge that his attacker suffers as he has -- a request that is allowed under what is called "Sharia law." The most common and famous example of this law is cutting off the hands of thieves, at the request of the theft victim.

Putting aside the punishment phase, a human rights group say the actual trials in Saudi Arabia fall far below international standards. They usually take place behind closed doors and without adequate legal representation.

Those who are sentenced to death are often not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them or of the date of execution -- until the morning on which they are taken out and beheaded.

The headless body can then be crucified in a public place as a way to set an example, according to the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islam.


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