Saudi Arabia beheads men for stealing
March 13, 2013 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
- Seven men did not get fair trials, United Nations says
- Saudi official news source quotes passage in Quran about stealing
- U.N. says men may have been tortured and forced to confess
(CNN) -- Seven men were executed by beheading Wednesday in Saudi Arabia for stealing, according to SPA, the official Saudi New agency.
The deaths came a day after the United Nations called for the kingdom not to carry out the punishment, in part because the men had allegedly not been given fair trials. The U.N. said the men were reportedly accused of organizing a criminal group, armed robbery, raiding and breaking into jewelry stores in 2005.
Growing anger over girl's horrific death
Outrage over beheading of Sri Lankan
The U.N. special rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Mendez, said there are also grave concerns that the men were tortured during detention and forced to sign confessions.
"This is not the only in breach of Saudi Arabia's international obligations under international law, which imposes an outright prohibition on torture, it is also in breach of the government's international obligation under the Convention against Torture that explicitly forbids the use of all forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confessions or acquiring information," he said.
SPA issued a statement on behalf of the Ministry of Interior that starts with a Quranic verse from the chapter "The Table Spread."
"The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter."
CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Brazil's oldest foe secures its place in the World Cup final for the first time in more than two decades after defeating the Netherlands on penalties.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Israel has deployed its Iron Dome defense system to halt incoming rockets. Here's how it works.
How Beijing built the world's largest high-speed rail network in less than a decade.
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
CNN's Becky Anderson looks at how practicing underwater is the perfect way to prepare for spacewalks.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 0917 GMT (1717 HKT)
Spectacular Germany outplays Brazil to reach the World Cup final with a 7-1 win over the hosts.
Even those who aren't in the line of fire feel the effects of the chaos that has engulfed Iraq since extremists attacked.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 0641 GMT (1441 HKT)
CNN's Jim Bittermann takes a look at a family who found the remains of their great- grandfather 100 years later.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 0008 GMT (0808 HKT)
Israelis and Palestinians have entered another yet violent cycle of reaction and counterreaction. Here are five things to keep in mind.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Traveling to the U.S.? You could be delayed if your electronic device has a dead battery.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 2157 GMT (0557 HKT)
With one hand, Zahra Hassan clutches a purse that matches her red blouse and skirt trimmed in blue. In the other, she holds an AK-47.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories