Alan Philps  29-Mar-2000  National Post  Amnesty report on Saudi Arabia
"Other punishments include amputations, with five cases of 'cross amputation' right hand and left foot and lashings." Alan Philps
The following excerpt might give food for thought to starry-eyed idealists who imagine that the US scours the world for people who yearn to live under democracy, and when it finds them, it nurtures their aspirations, or if it does not find them, then it encourages those that it does find toward democracy.  The case of Saudi Arabia, however, must give such idealists pause here is a nation over which the United States exercises absolute control, which if the US withdrew would collapse and its corrupt rulers be swept away in the blink of an eye.  And yet in this totally dependent state, has the US promoted democracy?  The answer is that obviously the United States has not promoted democracy it has installed and supports a ruthless dictatorship.  The United States embargoes the ruthless dictator Saddam Hussein of Iraq because it does not control him, but it protects the King who is also Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, the ruthless dictator FAHD bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, in power since 1982, because it does control him.

The United States does not want democracy in Saudi Arabia because democracies are harder to predict and to control than are puppet states.  The United States supports the Saudi Arabian dictatorship not despite that dictatorship's practicing cross amputation; the United States supports the Saudi Arabian dictatorship because it practices cross amputation because cross amputation terrorizes opposition to the regime, prolongs its life, and thus helps guarantee Americans inexpensive gasoline.  The United States, in effect, hires the Saudi "royal family" to employ cross amputation as a tool against the destabilizing effects of democracy in Saudi Arabia in the same way that it employs Jews to break Palestinian hands as a tool against the destabilizing effects of democracy in the region occupied by and adjacent to Israel.

Thus, Ukrainians may view Saudi Arabia as providing a cautionary model of one of the possible outcomes for any country that places itself under the American sheltering wing, and Ukrainians may wonder further if the view of George-Soros-installed Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma ploughing relentlessly toward dictatorship does not point to the Saudi Arabian model as the one that the US has begun to implement in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian people, whom history has as yet failed to teach that there does not exist any big brother that can be trusted, lurch from the arms of one abusing protector into the arms of another.

Amnesty issues damning justice report on Saudi Arabia

Public beheadings carried out weekly, rights group says

By Alan Philps

JERUSALEM    Amnesty International accused Saudi Arabia yesterday of running a justice system based on terror, secrecy and torture that results in the highest rate of execution in the world an average of two public beheadings every week.

In a report on human rights observance in the desert kingdom, Amnesty said the government has "systematically targeted its political and religious opponents, and abused the rights of migrant workers, women and other relatively powerless individuals."

There was a "culture of brutality, torture and ill-treatment" in police stations.  Defendants had no right to a lawyer, and were often convicted on the basis of confession extracted by torture or deceit, the report said.

Trials involving serious charges that could result in death or amputation were completed in a few minutes.

Amnesty said it knew of more than 1,100 people who had been executed in the past 20 years, including 11 in February, but the total was probably much higher.

Other punishments include amputations, with five cases of "cross amputation" right hand and left foot and lashings.

In 1990, an Egyptian convicted of robbery was sentenced to 4,000 lashes, at a rate of 50 every two weeks.  Beheadings are usually carried out in a public square on Friday, but the convicts are never aware of the date until they are dragged outside.  A sword is used, and it may require more than one blow to sever the head.

According to one executioner quoted in the report, pistols are used in the case of women, to spare them the shame of uncovering their head and neck in public.

The report said that with no political parties, no independent legislature, no trade unions, no independent judiciary and media censorship, secrecy and fear was allowed to permeate every aspect of the state structure.  Victims and witnesses were too scared to talk.  Anyone who dared voice dissent was harshly punished.


The Daily Telegraph, with files from Agence France-Presse