Thursday, July 08, 2004

Our good friends the Saudis and their 14th century justice system.

As I mentioned at the other blog, the New York Times said we made a deal with the Saudis to send five suspected Al-Quaeda detainees from Gitmo back to Saudi Arabia in exchange for 5 Britons being held hostage by them. (No one knows, by the way, what ever happened to these suspects.)

One of those Britons being held on trumped up charges said he was threatened with crucifixion! This involves the "criminal" being tied to a wooden X, the head is partially severed and is left that way to hang for three days in public.

These are our good friends the Saudis; and even better friends of the Bush family. Barbarians, yes, but rich!

I found a little more info on the Saudi "justice" system on a site discussing a man accused of "witchcraft."

"Saudi Arabia has no written penal code, code of criminal procedure, or code of judicial procedure, allowing police and judges wide discretion in many cases to determine what activities constitute criminal offenses and what sentences such "crimes" deserve. Because there is no constitutional court there is no way for an individual to challenge a sentence without directly or indirectly appealing to the king.

The king and his appointed Council of Ministers have near absolute authority to interpret written law, while the government-appointed Council of Senior Religious Scholars has final authority over interpretations of the Shari`a. The Council's interpretations give precedence to the Hanbali school of jurisprudence, especially as explicated by the fourteenth century jurist Ibn Taymiya.he Hanbali school is considered to be the most conservative of Sunni Islam's four schools of jurisprudence.

All four schools of jurisprudence agree on three main categories of crimes. Boundary crimes (hudud) are those whose punishments and evidentiary and procedural requirements are clearly delimited in the Quran and the collected deeds and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed (al-sunna).

Punishments for boundary crimes include execution by beheading or stoning, crucifixion, amputation (of a hand, or a hand and a foot, depending on the crime), banishment, or flogging, and persons convicted of boundary crimes cannot be pardoned."

Speaking of (burning) schools, according to Human Rights Watch in 2002:

"Women and girls may have died unnecessarily because of extreme interpretations of the Islamic dress code...

Eyewitnesses, including civil defense officers, reported that several members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (mutawwa'in, in Arabic) interfered with rescue efforts because the fleeing students were not wearing the obligatory public attire (long black cloaks and head coverings) for Saudi girls and women.

The mutawwa'in, a law-enforcement agency that has sought to ensure the application of the kingdom's strict gender segregation and dress code for women, has drawn criticism for abusive practices including harassment, physical abuse, and arbitrary arrest.

There were 835 students and fifty-five women teachers in Intermediate School No. 31 when the blaze started at about 8:00 in the morning, according to Saudi press reports. Saudi newspapers suggested that the school, located in a rented building, was overcrowded, and may have lacked proper safety infrastructure and equipment, such as fire stairs and alarms.

Yesterday's edition of Arab News (Jeddah) cited a report prepared by Mecca's Civil Defense Department about the rescue effort at the school. The report noted that mutawwa'in were at the school's main gate and, "intentionally obstructed the efforts to evacuate the girls. This resulted in the increased number of casualties." The religious police reportedly tried to block the entry of Civil Defense officers into the building. "We told them that the situation was dangerous and it was not the time to discuss religious issues, but they refused and started shouting at us," Arab News quoted Civil Defense officers as saying.

"Whenever the girls got out through the main gate, these people forced them to return via another. Instead of extending a helping hand for the rescue work, they were using their hands to beat us," Civil Defense officers were quoted as saying. The officers also said they saw three people beating girls who had evacuated the school without proper dress. A Saudi journalist told Human Rights Watch that the mutawwa'in at the scene also turned away parents and other residents who came to assist."

This is the kind of society we are trusting to keep supplying us with the crude we need to run our country. For this we turn a blind eye to a regime which in many ways is even more brutal than the Taliban were. (We're back in business with them. See)


Blogger Robin said...

Blind eye, heck! These are grounds for sending our boys in to overthrow an oppressive government! We'll deal with it right after we're done with North Korea.

10:22 PM  

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