Skip to main content

Saudi Arabia beheads men for stealing

By Saad Abedine, CNN
updated 7:59 PM EDT, Wed March 13, 2013
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
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
updated 8:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
updated 9:49 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 12:38 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
updated 12:29 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
updated 7:04 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
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