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When Beheading Won’t Do the Job, the Saudis Resort to Crucifixion

The stunning human-rights abuses of a U.S. ally

For Saudi Arabia, sometimes it’s not enough to simply behead a person who has run afoul of the government: On some occasions, there’s nothing like crucifixion to make your point:

A group of U.N. experts has joined rights groups in calling on Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of a Shiite man convicted of crimes reportedly committed as a teenager during protests inspired by the Arab Spring.

Ali al-Nimr, the nephew of firebrand Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, faces execution by beheading and an additional rare punishment of “crucifixion,” which means publicly displaying the body after death as a warning to others, according to Saudi state media.

Saudi Arabia, of course, is a world champion of human-rights abuse. Freedom, in all of its manifestations, is absent from the country. For an accounting of Saudi Arabia’s dismal human-rights record, please see Amnesty International’s latest country report. (I would direct you to Human Rights Watch’s work, except that Human Rights Watch has a history of—believe it or not—fundraising in Saudi Arabia. It should not, of course, fundraise in any non-democratic, primary-target country, particularly one in which giving to a human-rights group could land the donor in terrible trouble.)


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