Skip to main content

Saudi Arabia beheads men for stealing

By Saad Abedine, CNN
March 13, 2013 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 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.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0945 GMT (1745 HKT)
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
Gene Simmons reflects on 40 years of KISS, and how even rock royalty needs sound business principles.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0915 GMT (1715 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT