Saudi Arabia beheaded a Syrian accused of drug trafficking

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded a Syrian convicted of drug trafficking, official media said, bringing to 68 the number of people executed this year despite international concern.

"Talal Ali Qassem was captured smuggling a large quantity of methamphetamine. Investigations led to his confession," the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing the interior ministry.

Qassem was executed in the northern region of Jawf.

The interior ministry says the government is battling narcotics "because of their great harm to individuals and society."

A United Nations independent expert called in September for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said trials "are by all accounts grossly unfair" and defendants are often not allowed a lawyer.

He said confessions were obtained under torture.

Rape, murder, apostasy and armed robbery are also punishable by death under the kingdom's strict version of Islamic sharia law.

Death sentences

The man who gunned down an Irish cameraman working for the BBC in Saudi Arabia 10 years ago has been sentenced to death, a diplomatic source told AFP on Tuesday.

Simon Cumbers, 36, was filming near the home of a wanted militant in the Saudi capital when he was killed in the 2004 attack, in which the current BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner was also left paralyzed.

The man, reportedly a Saudi, "was sentenced for the murder of Simon Cumbers," said the source, who was present at Monday's court hearing.

"As I understand it, there was a whole series of charges," which also related to the wounding of Gardner, said the source.

Cumber's killer was among three men the official Saudi Press Agency reported were sentenced to death on Monday for al-Qaeda linked crimes.

Five others were jailed for between 25 and 30 years for similar offenses.

Moreover, Saudi judges have this year passed death sentences for five pro-democracy advocates, including prominent activist and cleric Nimr al-Nimr, for their part in protests.

Human rights organizations and activists have called on Saudi Arabia to overturn the death sentences handed down to pro-democracy activists, accusing the Saudi regime of curbing freedom of speech and opinion.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch urged the Saudi authorities to abolish The Specialized Criminal Court, the body that sentenced the five activists and many others to death, saying that analysis revealed "serious due process concerns" such as "broadly framed charges," "denial of access to lawyers," and "quick dismissal of allegations of torture without investigation."

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)



  1. ubesie chukwuebuka chidiogo

    November 18, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    this is bad!!!!, killing them is not good even if they fair the laws, I pray the government should amend this law as fast they can, even this act can lead to conflict and destruction of human lifes

    • Darlinton Omeh

      November 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      You are right and at the same times, a man or woman who decides to smuggle drug into a country or kingdom that clearly stated that drug smuggling into their land is an offense that carries capital punishment. That person really must not be afraid of head by any means – beheading or whichever means.

      My own concern is whether innocent people are being wrongly accused and beheaded with proper investigation

      • Ejinwa Anthony

        November 19, 2014 at 9:39 am

        that worries me as well, because since they are not allowed to plea their case either in court or have a lawyer.

  2. Ejinwa Anthony

    November 19, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Now why are some world bodies set up im the first instance, Is’t not to battle this injustice or inhuman practices. Also why do we have the G20s Is’t not to use their power as a nation to fight undeserved and reckless law. Now back to the nonsense practice done ny this Islamic peeps if u feel that what you doing is right why don’t you at least give them the opportunity to plead their case.

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