Saudi Court Orders Criminal To Be Surgically Paralyzed

Amnesty International is condemning this action. The crime took place 10 years ago and the victim is confined to a wheelchair.

The London-based human rights group said Ali al-Khawaher, 24, was reported to have spent 10 years in jail waiting to be paralyzed surgically unless his family pays one million Saudi riyals ($270,000) to the victim.

The Saudi Gazette newspaper reported last week that Khawaher had stabbed a childhood friend in the spine during a dispute a decade ago, paralyzing him from the waist down.

Saudi Arabia applies Islamic sharia law, which allows eye-for-an-eye punishment for crimes but allows victims to pardon convicts in exchange for so-called blood money.

“Paralyzing someone as punishment for a crime would be torture,” Ann Harrison, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said in a statement late on Tuesday.