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Saudi Judge Considering Spinal Cord Damage as Sentence for Assault

Maybe this is why some commentators are so concerned about U.S. courts relying on foreign law.

On his It's (Barely) Legal blog, Georgia Municipal Court Judge Glen Ashman linked to an Associated Press report about a judge in Saudi Arabia who appears to be taking the concept of the punishment fitting the crime a wee bit too far.

The judge, Saoud bin Suleiman al-Youssef, has reportedly been inquiring of hospitals as to whether it would be medically possible to paralyze a man who was convicted in a cleaver attack that left the victim paralyzed. The "eye for an eye" request was made by the victim's family, who were apparently unsatisfied with the seven months in prison served by the attacker before he was granted amnesty.

The request is based on Islamic law, and reports that the judge is considering it are being taken seriously by human rights organizations:

Amnesty International expressed concerns over the reports and said the rights group was contacting Saudi authorities for details.

"We are very concerned and we will appeal to the authorities not to carry out such a punishment," said Lamri Chirouf, the group's researcher on Saudi Arabia. Such measures are against international conventions against torture and international standards on human rights.

Though the report indicates that at least one hospital has refused to agree to the procedure, it's frightening to imagine a judge who would even entertain the idea. Good day to be thankful you live in a country that bans cruel and unusual punishment, even if that concept is not defined to include denial of fresh fruit. And, also, a country where we protect the freedom of speech even of those who think it might be OK to sentence a man to paralysis.

Posted by Eric Lipman on August 20, 2010 at 01:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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