No pardon yet for 7 young Saudis on death row

March 16, 2013

A source in the Saudi royal court has denied claims that seven prisoners sentenced to death in the Aseer area have been pardoned.

“The issue is being considered and no decision has been announced yet,” the source who was not identified told local news site Sabq. “There is no truth to the claim that the families of the seven men have been received or told by Khalid Al Tuwaijri, the head of the royal court, that the king had issued a pardon to forgive them,” he said in the remarks published by Sabq on Wednesday.

Websites on Tuesday posted reports attributed to relatives of the men on death row that they had been pardoned.

The seven men, aged between 20 and 24, were sentenced four years ago for armed robberies in gold shops in the Saudi city of Abha.

“I was 15 years old when I was implicated in a raid with a friend,” one of the prisoners told Sabq. “This friend was arrested and he gave out my name and the names of other people who raided shops with him. We were all arrested.”

The prisoner, who was not named, said that he and the six others sentenced to death were not part of a gang operating together.

“We did not know one another until we were put in prison together in Abha. We do know the person who planned the raids and he is almost our age. We were still adolescents and we did not really know what we were doing. We deeply regret what happened,” he said, quoted by the news site.

All the prisoners were reformed men now, he added. “We are committed to our religion and we do look forward to being pardoned by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud,” he said.

The death sentenced pronounced by a court in Abha on the charges of using firearms to raid shops, steal and threaten people was upheld by the cassation court.

According to the report, 18 other people convicted in the robbery cases were sentenced to varying jail terms and to lashes.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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