Obama Visits Saudi Arabia Where Death Penalty Can Apply For Gay Sex, Adultery, and Sorcery

By Michael W. Chapman | April 20, 2016 | 4:14 PM EDT

President Barack Obama and Saudi

Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz

Al Saud, in Riyadh.  (AP) 

(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama met with the King of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to discuss Iran, terrorism, and Middle East tensions. The two met in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a country that operates under sharia (Islamic law) and where people can be put to death for apostasy, sorcery, adultery, and gay sex.

Saudi Arabia, a monarchy headed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, follows sharia and the 1992 Basic Law, which mandates that “rulers of the country shall be male descendants of the founder” of the Saud family, according to the 2015 Human Rights Report on Saudi Arabia published by the U.S. State Department.

The constitution for the country is based upon the Quran and Sunna (the traditions of Muhammed).

Compared to the West, human rights in Saudi Arabia are severely restrictive. As the U.S. State Department’s report reads, “Violence against women; trafficking in persons; and discrimination based on gender, religion, sect, race, and ethnicity, as well as a lack of equal rights for children and noncitizen workers were common.” 

Some of the problematic human rights issues in Saudi Arabia, taken from the State Department report, include the following:

Saudi Arabian women.  (AP) 

-- “The government generally did not restrict the free movement of male citizens within the country, but it severely restricted the movement of female citizens.” A Saudi woman must have “the permission of her male guardian … to move freely in the country.”

-- “The government prohibited women from driving motor vehicles by refusing to issue them licenses. On September 13, authorities reportedly detained a woman for driving and released her after seizing her car.

-- “The law does not recognize spousal rape as a crime.” For rape by a non-spouse, female victims “had to prove that the rape was committed, and women’s testimony in court is worth half the weight of that of a man.”  (Emphasis added.)

-- “The country’s interpretation of sharia prohibits women from marrying non-Muslims, but men may marry Christians and Jews. Women require government permission to marry noncitizens.”

-- “In divorce proceedings, women must demonstrate legally specified grounds for divorce, but men can divorce without giving cause. In doing so, men must pay immediately an amount of money agreed at the time of the marriage that serves as a one-time alimony payment.”

-- “The law does not specify a minimum age for marriage, but sharia suggests girls may marry after reaching puberty. According to some senior religious leaders, girls as young as 10 may marry. Families sometimes arranged such marriages to settle family debts, without the consent of the child.” (Emphasis added.)

-- “Under the country’s interpretation and practice of sharia, capital punishment can be imposed for a range of nonviolent offenses, including apostasy, sorcery, and adultery.”

-- “Under sharia as interpreted in the country, consensual same-sex sexual conduct is punishable by death or flogging, depending on the perceived seriousness of the case. It is illegal for men “to behave like women” or to wear women’s clothes and vice versa. Due to social conventions and potential persecution, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) organizations did not operate openly, nor were there gay rights advocacy events of any kind.”

The Quran.  (AP) 

-- “In June authorities arrested several persons in Jeddah following raids on two parties involving LGBTI individuals. In July a Twitter account associated with the CPVPV announced a $25,000 fine for an international school that had painted rainbows on its building, calling them “emblems of homosexuality.”

-- “On February 23, media reported that the general court in Hafr al-Batin sentenced a Saudi national to death on charges of apostasy. On November 17, the Abha General Court sentenced Ashraf Fayadh, a Saudi resident of Palestinian origin, to death on charges of apostasy. In August a Sri Lankan domestic worker was convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning; her sentence was subsequently overturned on review in December.”

-- “The courts continued to use corporal punishment as a judicial penalty, usually in the form of floggings, a practice government officials defended as dictated by sharia.”

-- “On January 9, authorities administered 50 lashes to Raif Badawi, a nonviolent activist and blogger sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in 2014 on charges related to insulting Islam.”

“The government, however, did not rely on self-censoring in social media and the internet; it monitored and blocked certain internet sites…. The government charged those using the internet to express dissent with subversion, blasphemy, and apostasy.”

-- “The Ministry of Culture and Information must approve the appointment of all senior editors and has authority to remove them…. All newspapers in the country must be government-licensed.

-- “The government owned, operated, and censored most domestic television and radio outlets.”

-- “The law does not provide for freedom of assembly and association, which the government strictly limited.”

President Barack Obama will spend the night in Riyadh on April 20 and depart on April 21.

To read the State Department’s 2015 Human Rights Report for Saudi Arabia, click here.  

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman

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