Saudi Denies Sentencing Man to Paralysis

Saudi Arabia denied that one of its courts issued a sentence to have a man surgically paralyzed on an “eye for eye” basis after he crippled another man by stabbing him in the back during a fight nearly ten years ago.

“This is untrue,” said the Ministry of Justice via its Twitter account. “This was not the sentence handed down by the judge who dismissed the request of such punishment.”

Saudi Gazette reported last month that Ali al-Khawahir was sentenced to be fully paralyzed as a punishment for causing paralysis to his best friend unless his family pays SR 1 million ($270,000) to the victim. Al-Khawahir was reportedly 14 years old when the incident happened and has been in jail since then.

The UK has urged Saudi Arabia not to carry out what now appears to be a misreported sentence, describing it as “grotesque.” London-based human rights groups Amnesty International has condemned the sentence. “That such a punishment might be implemented is utterly shocking,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director in a statement, “even in a context where flogging is frequently imposed as a punishment for some offenses, as happens in Saudi Arabia.”

The Ministry of Justice criticized human rights organizations for condemning Saudi Arabia based on false reports, saying confirming the accuracy of sources is one of the basics of working in the rights field. “The ministry hopes that everyone would attempt to be accurate,” MOJ said. “Fabricated and inaccurate news are offending to those who fall for them before others.