To my astonishment and dismay Western powers, groups and international institutions have ganged-up against the Kingdom of alleging ‘ abuses’ over its execution of 47 terrorists, tried and sentenced for their crimes following lengthy transparent trials.
Rather than salute the Kingdom for its policy of zero tolerance of terrorists many of Saudi’s so-called allies seek to undermine its efforts with scurrilous statements and condemnatory rhetoric. Such criticism not only has little basis in fact in many cases it is spewed by some of the biggest abusers on the planet.
No country has the right to interfere with another’s domestic affairs let alone criticise its laws or judicial process. Every state must protect its people and state institutions from those who would do harm in the best way it sees fit – and this is especially pertinent in a region splintered by violence and conflict.
Firstly, Saudi, that borders war torn and and is being openly threatened by , is particularly in a sensitive situation, which is why it cannot afford to turn a blind eye to snakes within plotting its downfall no matter their religious persuasion.
Secondly, the Kingdom is the victim here when its embassy and consulate in came under state-sponsored mob attacks; their computers and documents stolen even as diplomats called upon authorities for help which went unheeded. Yet, instead of condemning the Iranian government for once again breaching diplomatic norms, the , the and the are blaming Saudi for executing a Saudi Shiite cleric who organised violent demonstrations against the government, supported terrorist cells and used his sermons to call for the overthrow of the state.
Thirdly, this is a case of people in glass houses. Take the US whose invasion of spawned and was the prime mover of the sectarian divisions and its neighbours now face. When we remember , Abu Ghraib, renditions, torture and the ongoing extrajudicial assassination’s, clearly President Barack ’s staff have taken courses in hypocrisy 101.
Deputy Adviser has urged the Saudi government to show respect for while senior administration figures slam for “an apparent absence of due process” and “negligent disregard” for acting in ways that destabilise the region.
If there is one country to be blamed for inflaming the area, it is the that removed , a buffer between Iranian expansionism and , toppled Muammar abandoning to armed militias and stood aside as swept over great swathes of and . Those errors of judgment were compounded last year by ’s nuclear pact with a devil.
And how can anyone take US critics seriously when the country’s presidential candidates call for all Muslim visitors to be banned along with vetted refugees including orphans as young as five-years-old? What moral right does have to wag its finger at others over the death penalty when 31 of its states variously hang condemned prisoners, place them before a firing squad, subjected them to electrocution, gas them or finish them off with lethal injections which often go wrong? Last year a death row inmate Joseph Wood suffered one of the longest executions in US history taking two hours to die from a botched lethal injection.
Since 1976, the US has executed 1,422 convicts, 28 this year and 35 in 2014. Analysis undertaken by legal experts in Michigan and Pennsylvania found that 4.1 per cent were victims of a miscarriage of justice. Kudos to for issuing an executive order related to gun control, but his tears for the victims of gun crimes merely echoed US double standards when it is the world’s greatest supplier of lethal weapons.
The EU, which never fails to jump to Washington’s command, has issued a statement asserting the execution of Sheikh raises “serious concerns regarding freedom of expression and the respect of basic civil and political rights.” That complaint rings hollow from countries with refugees fleeing bombs and terrorism stuck in the freezing cold without food on their borders pleading to be allowed entry when it is their duty to give them asylum under international refugee conventions.
As for basic civil and political rights, France rightly banned demonstrations in response to terrorist attacks while deploying the army to patrol its streets. When a country is threatened – as France was and is – it tightens its security to ensure its people’s safety.
’s comments have been fairly low key for which is being criticised. However, the Foreign Office reiterated the ’s opposition to the “death penalty in all circumstances” as undermining human dignity. That view is ’s prerogative, but why is the government singling out Saudi when its closest ally, the US is high on the death penalty statistics list along in company with , and ?
The same can be said for the . Its Secretary-General has cited concerns over the nature of the charges and fairness of the judicial process, while urging Saudi to commute all death sentences. Who is he to judge the fairness of Saudi trials when he was not present – and why does he not address similar remarks to the governments of , and the US? The UN would do well to concentrate on its problems when its peacekeepers are being investigated for the sexual exploitation of underage girls and women in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of , , , and South .
Criticisms from the leaderships of would be laughable if the matter was not as serious. “Violating leads to repercussions on the security, stability and the social fabric of the peoples of the region,” Iraqi , . Well, he should know! His Shiite-dominated government is one of the biggest violator of and the greatest conductor of oppression and sectarian bias having sold out the Iraqi people to Tehran. When Arab country after Arab country is breaking off relations with , his Foreign Minister was in Tehran genuflecting before his masters.
Naturally, organisations have jumped on the bash-Saudi bandwagon with enthusiasm. , accused of being a revolving door for the , accuses Saudi of discriminating against Shiite citizens, notwithstanding that Al-Nimr was the only Shiite among 46 others. Reprieve urges the not to “turn a blind eye to such atrocities”. What atrocities; the execution of terrorists? which prioritises the rights of terrorists over their victims stated the carrying out of dozens of executions on the same day marks “a dizzying descent to yet another outrageous low for ”. Would it have been acceptable if the executions had been stretched out over a year as they are in the US?
It is strange that these groups are focusing on the Kingdom whereas over 700 individuals have been hanged by this year alone (many of them Sunnis), a female cartoonist is on trial for the ‘crime’ of shaking hands with her lawyer, a woman was sentenced to be stoned to death as recently as last December and poets and writers are being rounded up and tried.
In short, Countries with blood on their hands should mind their own business. Saudi and its Arab allies have had enough of foreign interference and are resolved to stand against Iranian plots whatever it takes. We will no longer listen to states that contributed to our dangerous neighbourhood. The reaction of Saudi’s fake allies is both disappointing and eye-opening. At least now we know which states to trust and those we cannot, a lesson I pray has been well learned.