2018 Death Penalty report: Saudi Arabia’s False Promise

With crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at the helm, 2018 was a deeply violent and barbaric year for Saudi Arabia, under his de facto leadership.
PhotoDeera Square is a public space located in front of the Religious Police building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which public executions (usually by beheading) take place. It is sometimes known as Justice Square and colloquially called Chop Chop Square. After Friday prayers, police and other officials clear the area to make way for the execution to take place. After the beheading of the condemned, the head is stitched to the body which is wrapped up and taken away for the final rites.
This year execution rates of 149 executions, shows an increase from the previous year of three executions, indicating that death penalty trends are soaring and there is no reversal of this trend in sight.
The execution rates between 2015-2018 are amongst the highest recorded in the Kingdom since the 1990s and coincide with the ascension of king Salman to the t…

Video of Interview With Khristian Oliver Set For Execution Nov. 5 in Case Where Jury Consulted Bible

In the first of five executions scheduled in Texas in November, Khristian Oliver is scheduled for execution on Thursday, November 5, 2009. He was sentenced to death by a jury whose members consulted the Bible during their deliberations on whether Oliver should receive the death penalty.

If someone is to be sentenced to death, the decision of the jury should be based on the laws of the State of Texas and not the Bible. Khristian Oliver had a right to be sentenced in accordance with the laws of Texas, not those of the Bible. People can of course pray and consult their faith values individually whenever they want, but jurors should not read scripture to each other in the jury room to justify a death sentence, they should only consult the laws of Texas as explained to them by the judge.

During deliberations on sentencing, one of the jurors apparently read the following passage aloud to his fellow jurors: “And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.” Another juror, a death penalty supporter, later told the media that “about 80 per cent” of the jurors had “brought scripture into the deliberation”, and that if civil law and biblical law were in conflict, the latter should prevail. And he said that if he had been told he could not consult the Bible, “I would have left the courtroom.”

In recent weeks, a new juror has also come forward to acknowledge the role that the Bible played in their deliberations. Juror Teresa L. Short (formerly Schnelzer) has confirmed that jurors consulted the Bible at the very outset of their deliberations on the question of whether Oliver should be sentenced to death. Like the others, she recalls which Bible passages were read, and she specifically notes that jurors looked to and took comfort from the Bible in reaching their decision. (A copy of her affidavit has been provided to the Governor’s office by Mr. Oliver’s counsel.)

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