Saudi Arabia Arrests Man Who Filmed Beheading

Human rights activists distributed video showing public execution
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2015 7:08 AM CST
Saudi Arabia Arrests Man Who Filmed Beheading
Activists reenact an execution scene in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Beirut, April 1, 2010, as they protest a possible beheading of a Lebanese man accused of witchcraft in Saudi Arabia.   (AP Photo/Ahmad Omar)

(Newser) – Earlier this month, the world got a graphic look at how Saudi Arabia performs executions—and now the man who filmed the execution in question has been arrested. In the unnamed man's video, a woman who had been convicted of murder was "proclaiming her innocence" in the street on Jan. 12, the New York Times reports. Three uniformed security officers and a swordsman surrounded her, until the swordsman took his weapon to her neck three times, killing her. Human rights activists started distributing the video, and yesterday, Saudi news outlets reported that the videographer was under arrest and would be prosecuted. The charges have not been specified, but an Interior Ministry spokesman says Saudi Arabia's law against cybercrimes would apply.

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The executed woman had been convicted of beating and sexually violating her 7-year-old stepdaughter until she died; the man who filmed her beheading is said to be a security officer involved in the execution, RT reports, and he will reportedly face both a military and a civilian trial. Though Saudi Arabia is a US ally, its use of Shariah law has come under more scrutiny lately with the rise of ISIS, which also claims to use Shariah law. But while human rights activists have called for beheadings to stop in the country, Saudis say only those convicted of serious crimes are executed in that fashion—whereas ISIS militants are willing to kill anyone who doesn't share their Sunni Muslim faith. In another case getting much global attention, Saudi Arabia has delayed the second round of flogging for a blogger who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes. (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)

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