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2018 Death Penalty report: Saudi Arabia’s False Promise

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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…

Pakistani court frees Islamic preacher sentenced to death for blasphemy

"Laws used to settle personal scores or grudges"
"Laws used to settle personal scores or grudges"
ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani court freed an Islamic preacher who was sentenced to death four years ago on charges of blasphemy, a defense lawyer said Tuesday.

Chaudhry Mehmood Akhtar said that a judge in the city of Rawalpindi acquitted Mohammad Ishaq on Friday after finding him "completely innocent" of insulting Islam.

Ishaq was custodian at a shrine in Punjab province when he was arrested and sentenced to death in 2013 after a citizen accused him of claiming in conversation to actually be God.

"My client is a practicing Muslim and he was a victim of false charges. Now I am doing the paperwork to get him out of a jail," Akhtar told The Associated Press.

Under Pakistan's blasphemy laws, anyone accused of insulting God, Islam or religious personalities can be sentenced to death. 

However the laws are also sometimes used to settle personal scores or grudges.

Human rights groups have called for amending Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws, which are often misused against the country's minority Christian community. 

In 2015, a Muslim mob beat a Christian couple to death and burned their bodies for allegedly desecrating the Quran.

Source: The Associated Press, February 28, 2017

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