Last updated: 19 May, 2013

Saudi man spared paralysis sentence

A Saudi man escaped a sentence of paralysis for stabbing and paralysing another man by offering him compensation, media reported on Sunday, although the authorities have denied issuing the punishment.

The sentence was dropped after the family of Mohammed al-Hazim, 26, accepted one million riyals ($270,000) in compensation from the family of convicted Ali Khawahir, 24, Al-Watan daily reported.

A court in the eastern city of Al-Ahsa had registered a waiver by the plaintiff’s family, and would now proceed with the release of Khawahir, who has already spent 10 years in jail.

Last month Amnesty International said Khawahir had reportedly been sentenced to Qisas, or retribution, and could be paralysed from the waist down if he failed to pay compensation.

The London-based human rights watchdog said Khawahir had stabbed a friend in the back in 2003, and paralysed him. Khawahir was 14 years old at the time.

But the Saudi justice ministry categorically denied the court had passed the verdict, saying on Twitter the judge had dismissed demands for the sentence.

A ministry spokesman also told AFP reports of the sentence that were “false.”

Amnesty said a Saudi court had passed another sentence of paralysis in 2010, but it was unclear if it had been carried out.

The ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom imposes several forms of corporal punishment attributed to Islamic sharia law, ranging from flogging to amputation and beheading.