Reflections on President Obama's Tour of the Middle East

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The eyes of the world are on Saudi Arabia because of President Obama's visit ["Obama Meets Saudi Leader; Al-Qaeda Rails," news story, June 4]. Despite the attention that the country is receiving, its government is still participating in backward and barbaric practices such as public beheadings and crucifixions.

On May 28, just days before the arrival of the president, a ghastly beheading and crucifixion was held in the capital, Riyadh. After the condemned man was decapitated, his head was sewn back on his body, and it was left on display for several hours.

On the day Mr. Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia, a murderer-rapist was convicted and sentenced to beheading and public display of his body.

Both of these men seem to have been guilty of the crimes they were convicted of, and they deserved punishment. But these sentences are barbaric and disgraceful. Saudi Arabia is the only country that still executes criminals by public beheading.

These actions contribute to Saudi Arabia's staggering number of human rights violations. The United States and other global powers should address these violations immediately.



Institute for Gulf Affairs


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