I have already covered the dangers inherent in attempting to have a state run on ‘God’s’ law instead of man’s law, and the kind of dangers that could pose; and I mentioned Saudi Arabia as an example in that post. I had no idea they would be re-affirming their brutality so soon.
The values upon which secularism is built would always make it a better option than a theocracy, which is why it is worrying when people like Kim Davis take seemingly innocuous actions but whose import is calling for a god run state.
Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr is feeling the pinch of God’s laws right about now. He was arrested in 2012 as a 17 year old for attending an anti-government rally. As Saudi Arabia’s royal family are God’s representatives on earth, any tiniest bit of dissent is against God himself. The Kingdom routinely commits some of the most gruesome human rights abuses in the modern world.
Mohammed’s detention, trial, and appeal have largely been a sham. He was found guilty in the original trial last year and sentenced to death by crucifixion and beheading. His appeal was decided on a few days ago without his presence even being required.
This is how the International Business Times surmises the trial…
“Ali was initially held at a juvenile offenders facility, where he was denied access to lawyers. Evidence indicates that he was tortured and forced to sign a document which was tantamount to a confession. The signed document formed the basis of the case against him and he was convicted of the alleged offences by the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC).
“However, the trials failed to meet international standards. Ali and his family have strongly denied the charges against him, but, after the final appeal – which was held in secret and without Ali’s knowledge – was dismissed, there are few legal options remaining to oppose the sentence originally handed down on 27 May 2014. It is feared that Ali could be executed in a matter of days.”
Human rights campaigners and activists have been calling for the international community to step in and save Ali. Most believe the case against him stems from the fact that his uncle, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, is a vocal critic of the government and a prominent human rights activist. And yes, he has also been sentenced to death.
Maya Foa, Director of the death penalty team at legal charity Reprieve, has condemned the entire process and the trauma a teenager is being made to go through.
“No one should have to go through the ordeal Ali has suffered – torture, forced ‘confession,’ and an unfair, secret trial process, resulting in a sentence of death by ‘crucifixion.’ But worse still, Ali was a vulnerable child when he was arrested and this ordeal began. His execution – based apparently on the authorities’ dislike for his uncle, and his involvement in anti-government protests – would violate international law and the most basic standards of decency. It must be stopped.”
Normally the international community would be up in arms in such cases; but most of the West recoils from offending the Saudis. It is their oil that keeps things turning, after all.
Some people campaign against the death penalty on principle, that human life should never be intentionally shed. I believe it has its place, for the worst amongst us, who have treated the lives of others as worth far less than theirs.
But a case can never be made for why a teenager who took part in a protest, exercising his human rights, deserves the death penalty. And that is even before adding on the twin horrors of crucifixion and beheading. Whilst we’re at it, there is a question to be asked of why a certain portion of the world continues to be fascinated by beheadings, and whether that has anything to do with scripture (they’ll tell you it does not).
When even most governments of the world cannot rail against such a gross miscarriage of justice due to political expediency, it reaffirms how no human system is perfect and how most of our problems stem from the selfishness embedded in man’s core.
But we also cannot forget that at this point in history most of such barbaric acts continue to emanate from one belief system; Islam. And even as the majority of its adherents disavow these actions, they must understand that so long as 7th century tomes espousing 7th century moral values are held as the infallible word of God; crazy folks would follow through on applying those outdated morals.
That is the moral conundrum all religions must face but conscientiously refuse to do.