Friday, November 27, 2015
Married woman to be stoned to death for adultery in Saudi Arabia - while her single male partner to receive 100 lashes
A woman faces the sentence of being stoned to death after being convicted of adultery in Saudi Arabia - while the man she was caught with faces 100 lashes. The married 45-year old woman, originally from Sri Lanka, was working as a maid in Saudi Arabia at the time. Her partner, also a Sri Lankan migrant workers, was given the lesser punishment on account of being single. The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment has "hired lawyers and appealed against the case", according to Upul Deshapriya, a spokesman for the Bureau. "Also, from the foreign ministry side, they are in negotiations with the Saudi government on a diplomatic level." Officials from the Saudi Embassy in Colombo did not respond to requests on whether the clemency plea would be considered.
Saudi Arabia, ironically a member in the advisory committee of the UN Human Rights Council, has long been criticized by human rights groups all around the world for the frequent use of the death penalty for crimes such as adultery and drug smuggling. In just the past year, Saudi Arabia has executed over 150 people - a 20 year high. According to Amnesty International, a human rights organization, "the majority of the executions that take place are public beheading[s]." In fact, Hillel Neuer, executive director at UN watch, called Saudi Arabia's position in the UNHRC as "scandalous [because] it has beheaded more people this year than ISIS..." The country follows a form of Sharia Law, a legal framework within which both public and some private aspects of life are regulated in the name of Islam. Sharia deals with all aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, economics, banking, business law, contract law, sexuality, and social issues. Stoning is a form of execution where a group throws stones at a person buried waist or chest deep in the ground until they are dead.
This news follows reports that Saudi Arabia is planning to execute more than 50 people, found guilty of terrorism, in a single day. Amnesty International immediately condemned the move, saying that the Saudis are "using the guise of counter-terrorism to settle political scores."
Saudi Arabia and the United States have been close diplomatic allies for decades. Notably, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have strong and close relations with senior members of the Saudi Royal Family, the undisputed head of government in the Middle-Eastern country. The simplest explanation for this unlikely relationship between two vastly different nations, is of course, oil. Saudi Arabia is the largest and most important producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a bloc that controls around 40 percent of the world's oil. According to theatlantic.com, "despite [Saudi Arabia's] repulsive human rights record, unproductive role in regional security, and American advances in shale oil production, the United States needs Saudi Arabia..."
What do you think of this whole controversy? How does it make you feel? Should the US condemn these outrageous actions and risk the anger of Saudi Arabia or are strong diplomatic relations with the Middle-Eastern Oil giant more important as a whole for our nation?