A Saudi court has ratified the beheading of a young man who raped five children, among them a three-year-old boy left to die in the desert, with his body to be mounted on a cross and his head stuck on a pole after he is killed.
An appeal court in Riyadh approved the death sentence handed down in June by a lower court in Hail, where the convicted 22-year-old man carried out his crimes, Okaz newspaper said.
The man's body will be put on public display after the beheading.
"Muhammed Basheer al-Ramaly, 22, from the northern city of Hail, will be executed at noon today, according to Saudi reports," the Times of London notes. "He will be beheaded by sword then his body tied to a wooden cross and his head stuck on a pole as a deterrent to other would-be killers.
The paper adds:
His modus operandi was to pick up the boys in his car — at least one of them on his way to school — and take them off to a secret location and rape them. Most of them were found a day or two after they were abducted and told police that they had been abused.
Saudi reports said that police used one of the survivors, a seven-year-old boy believed to be of Yemeni origin, to scour the area where he was molested, looking for the suspect’s vehicle. Al-Ramaly allegedly confessed to the crime and was sentenced to death by a court in Hail, but appealed to a higher court in the capital, Riyadh. That court yesterday upheld the sentence and ordered his immediate execution.
While Saudi Arabia carries out numerous beheadings – 102 last year, according to Amnesty International, with another 138 inmates on death row – crucifixions are relatively rare. The last one appears to have been in May, when the headless body of a sex murderer was displayed in the capital.
The man was arrested several weeks ago, the paper said, as he tried to seize another youth after offering him a ride home from school.
Saudi Arabia has executed 56 people this year under laws that allow the death penalty for rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking. In extreme cases, the convict is executed and his body displayed in public.