Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

First beheading for new Saudi king Salman: Moussa al-Zahrani executed in Jeddah

Saudi Arabia has executed a man convicted of raping several girls in a case that has captured the kingdom's attention and marks the first beheading carried out under newly-enthroned King Salman.

Moussa al-Zahrani was executed in the city of Jeddah.

A statement from the Saudi interior ministry said al-Zahrani was convicted of luring under-age girls, intoxicating them, forcing them to watch pornographic videos and then physically and sexually assaulting them.

His alleged victims were children assaulted in 2011 in a string of attacks in Jeddah.

The case has caused a stir on social media - unusual in Saudi Arabia for cases of violent crimes - in part because al-Zahrani claimed his innocence throughout the trial and at two later appeals.

Last year, al-Zahrani appealed in a 20-minute video for Saudi King Abdullah, who died on Friday, to intervene.

In the widely-viewed video, the 45-year-old Arabic teacher claimed he was framed by police and that a man - a neighbour of 10 years - who accused him of molesting his daughter was also a police investigator in the case.

An Arabic hashtag on Twitter, "We are all Moussa al-Zahrani", garnered thousands of comments by Saudis, with conflicting opinions over the case.

Al-Zahrani's relatives appeared on Saudi talk shows, saying the case was riddled with inconsistencies and that the judiciary did not weigh all the evidence.

They claimed a medical report found the investigator's 10-year-old daughter had not been assaulted and that several cases of assault against young girls took place in Jeddah while al-Zahrani was already jailed.

His brother, Hassan al-Zahrani, said after the execution that his brother, a father of six, could not have committed the crimes he was convicted of.

Saudi Arabia, which has one of the highest execution rates in the world, follows a strict interpretation of Islamic law and applies the death penalty for crimes such as murder, rape and witchcraft.

Further reading

King Abdullah dead: Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over tributes

UK tributes for Saudi King Abdullah

UK tributes to Saudi king spark row over human rights hypocrisy

'Flog me instead of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi' says senior US academic

UK tributes for Saudi King Abdullah

Wounds prevent further public lashings for Saudi blogger

Prince Charles will fly to Saudi Arabia to pay respects to King Abdullah

King Salman: Successor to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah

Oil prices jump as death fuels uncertainty in markets

UK tributes for Saudi King Abdullah

New Saudi king after Abdullah dies

Yemen conflict: An old hand is at work. And as always, it’s all about the Saudis 

Saudi Arabia's history of hypocrisy we choose to ignore

Saudi Arabia's proposal to destroy Prophet Mohammed’s tomb and move remains to anonymous grave risks new Muslim division

Isis: Having spent billions, the Wahhabists of Saudi Arabia and Qatar find they have created a monster

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of Iraq

Saudi cleric ‘issues religious edict banning all-you-can-eat buffets’

Why the global 'war on terror' went wrong

Is Saudi Arabia regretting its support for al-Qa’ida groups?

Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?

Human rights worry at £12 billion of arms exported to repressive countries

Bombardier lands £1bn Saudi contract

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph