Saudi Arabia denies reports of paralysis sentencing


Setting up a mock gallows with a dummy on a rope, about 25 Lebanese human rights activists protest outside the Saudi embassy in Beirut on April 1, 2010 against capital punishment as Lebanon's envoy to Riyadh said he has yet to be informed of a Saudi decision to behead a Lebanese former TV presenter convicted of sorcery. The United Nations says Saudi Arabia has seen a sharp rise in executions in 2011.



Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Justice issued a series of tweets denying reports that a prisoner was to be paralyzed by the authorities for having allegedly paralyzing someone, describing the account as "untrue," according to CNN

Apparently, the paralysis measure was actually considered -- the judge "dismissed requests for such punishment," said the ministry, reported CNN

"We hope that everyone attempts to verify the facts and be accurate," the ministry added. 

The account, first published in The Saudi Gazette, was picked up by human rights organizations as well as news organizations -- including, full disclosure, GlobalPost. Even the British government weighed in

The Saudi Gazette identified the prisoner as 24-year-old Ali Al-Khawahir, said to have been imprisoned since the age of 14 on charges of stabbing a former friend, leaving the friend paralyzed.

The report claimed Al-Khawahir had been given a sentence of surgical paralysis unless he could pay one million Saudi Riyals.