ROYAL MURDER AGAINST LOVE -
IN SAUDI ARABIA
சவூதி அரேபியா - கொலைகாரர்கள் ஆட்சி செய்யும் பூமி
Princess Mishaal bint Fahd al Saud, the 19-year-old great-niece of the late King Khalid, was shot several times in the head in 1977.
Her family sent Mishaal bint Fahd, at her own request, to Lebanon to attend school. While there, she fell in love with a man, Khaled al-Sha'er Mulhallal, the nephew of Ali Hassan al-Shaer, the Saudi ambassador in Lebanon, and they began an affair. Upon their return to Saudi Arabia, it emerged that they had conspired to meet alone on several occasions, a charge of adultery was brought against them. She attempted to fake her own drowning and was caught trying to escape from Saudi Arabia with Khaled. Although she was disguised as a man, she was recognized by a passport examiner at Jeddah airport. She was subsequently returned to her family. Under Sharia law, a person can only be convicted of adultery by the testimony of four adult male witnesses to the act of sexual penetration, or by their own admission of guilt, stating three times in court "I have committed adultery." There were no witnesses. Her family urged her not to confess, but instead to merely promise never to see her lover again. On her return to the courtroom, she allegedly repeated her confession: "I have committed adultery. I have committed adultery. I have committed adultery." This account has been challenged by the docudrama Death of a Princess, which claims the princess and her lover were never actually tried in court.
On 15 July 1977, both were publicly executed in Jeddah by the side of the Queen's Building in the park. Despite her royal status, she was blindfolded, made to kneel, and executed on the explicit instructions of her grandfather, a senior member of the royal family, for the alleged dishonour she brought on her clan and defying a royal order calling for her to marry a man selected by the family. Another royal family member was executed in 2016. Khaled, after being forced to watch her execution, was beheaded with a sword by, it is believed, one of the princess's male relatives. It took five blows to sever his head, which was not the work of a professional executioner. Both executions were conducted near the palace in Jeddah, not in the public execution square in Jeddah.
Following the execution, segregation of women became more severe, and the religious police also began patrolling bazaars, shopping malls and any other place where men and women might happen to meet. When Prince Muhammad was later asked if the two deaths were necessary, he said, "It was enough for me that they were in the same room together".
By claiming asylum in Britain, the Saudi princess is seeking to avoid the fate of another member of her royal family who was executed after admitting adultery.
Princess Mishaal bint Fahd al Saud, the 19-year-old great-niece of the late King Khalid, was shot several times in the head in 1977. Her death is thought to have been ordered by her grandfather, Muhammad bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, the King's older brother. She was unmarried but had confessed that she had committed adultery.
The killing became the focus of an international outcry in 1980 when the docu-drama Death Of A Princess was shown on teleivison. Saudi authorities tried to get the film suppressed and, when that failed, they expelled the British ambassador to Riyadh, withdrew 400 members of their royal family from Britain and cancelled millions of pounds worth of exports.
Most executions carried out in the kingdom are by beheading in a public square, but stoning is the technique reserved for married people convicted of adultery. Among the offences which rank beside adultery as capital crimes are murder, drug-trafficking and sodomy.
In 2008, Saudi courts ordered the executions of 102 people for various offences, a fall from the record 156 people put to death in 2007. Forty women have been executed since 1990. In a report last year, the human rights group Amnesty International said at least one woman was facing the possibility of execution for adultery. The woman had been married to a Saudi who died six years beforehand. She was arrested in 2005 after giving birth to a girl and was sentenced to death by stoning. Her fate is unclear.
A couple from Sri Lanka working in Saudi Arabia were convicted of adultery in March and sentenced to death by stoning. The sentence was reduced to six years in prison and 700 lashes. A 23-year-old Saudi woman was sentenced to 100 lashes and a year in prison earlier this year after being gang-raped. She became pregnant and was arrested when she tried to arrange an abortion.