The Cultural And Political Life Of Saudi Arabia

1592 words - 6 pages

Crimes punishable by the death sentence in Saudi Arabia include murder, serious attacks on the Islam religion, adultery, dress codes, and since 1987, drug smuggling. Under Saudi Arabian law, serious crimes merit serious consequences. Repeated theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand, administered under anesthetic. Because most meals in Saudi Arabia are eaten by hand from a communal bowl and only the right hand may touch the food, this punishment effectively bans the convicted thief from society. The severity of this punishment has led to a slight softening of the law in recent years; now if the thief repents and makes restitution before the case is brought before a judge, the punishment can be reduced... furthermore, the victim of the crime may demand payment rather than amputation of the thief’s right hand, and in some cases the victim is even permitted to parden the criminal. In a typical year at least ten hands amputations are carried out for repeated thievery in Saudi Arabia. (Goodwin, 1943) Today in the United States, crimes such as theft are punishable by jail sentence if they have more than one thievery act.
Although the punishment for fornication is the same as for adultery: death. Both are acts of sexual dishonor that reflects on the honor of the female’s family. In the case of Adultery, the female family is much more damaged than her husband because it is her male relatives and not her husband who are responsible for her behavior and her dishonor. Therefore it becomes their duty to punish the adulterous woman. (Mackey, 2002) In The United States, adultery is considered a crime under our spiritual law but as for the law of government, the act of adultery is only grounds for divorce.
In 1987, base on a new ruling by the Ulama, drug smugglers and those who receive or distribute drugs from abroad became subject to the death sentence. First-time offenders face some combination of prison terms, floggings, and fines: those convicted a second time face execution. Within two years, this ruling, coupled with a new antidrug campaign, resulted in a sixty percent drop in drug addiction and twenty six percent reductions in drug use. Saudi officials now claim that the kingdom has the lowest rate of drug addiction in the world, which they attributed to harsh punishment and the religious convictions of ordinary Saudis. (Aburish, The House of Saud, 1994) In the United States those who are convicted of drug smuggling will be convicted and will have to serve time in prison, and fines will be placed upon them. Also, second time offenders will have a substantial amount of prison time to face but there is no execution punishment for drug smuggling.
In addition, there are those who are being persecuted for their religious beliefs. When Islam gained control of Saudi Arabia thirteen hundred years ago, all Christians were expelled from the country. The nation considers itself the guardian of Islam’s Holiest sites and all other religions are...

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