This past Tuesday in Jizan, Saudi Arabia, five Yemeni nationals were decapitated and hung by the shoulders in a public square across from a nearby university.
They were put to death and hung after being convicted of belonging to a criminal organization, creating an armed group, and murdering a Saudi national.
A video can be found here (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES):
This is not the first time Saudi Arabia has hung criminals, and it is part of a disturbing rise in executions. There have been at least 47 executions this year, and at least 19 of them have been of foreign nationals. Convictions which can secure execution can range from witchcraft, adultery and apostasy (renouncing Islam) to armed robbery, rape, and murder. The country has also begun executing people under 18, in violation of international law, and not giving proper representation to those accused. What’s most disturbing, though, is the fast rise in beheadings of women whose “crimes” range from being an unknown drug mule to killing husbands who may have been raping them.
This strict law is morally troublesome to consider, especially since pretending to be a witch could get you killed, and comes off as barbaric in nature. But don't expect much beyond empty words from any of America's politicians about this disturbing rise of death in one of our most important economic allies. It's in our nature to look past such things if prudent.
The U.S. has a history of ignoring morally troublesome activities if the country involved is a trade partner. China is a premier example. Tibet is still not free despite much public knowledge about the country's situation and the cruelty of Chinese occupation, but because China is a valued trade partner, we've chosen to ignore it. Saudi Arabia, as it is an influential member of OPEC, holds economic sway over America, which has shielded the Middle Eastern country from anything beyond minor ridicule. Despite the fact that they very well may be funneling money to terrorists, it is unlikely that any real conflict with the country will happen unless their oil reserves go dry.