Reported Saudi paralysis sentence 'outrageous,' rights group says
April 3, 2013 -- Updated 2050 GMT (0450 HKT)
- A Saudi court has sentenced a man to be paralyzed if he can't pay compensation, media say
- The man stabbed and paralyzed his friend 10 years ago, the Saudi Gazette says
- Amnesty International says the reported sentence would be torture if carried out
- The Saudi Justice Ministry has not responded to requests for comment on the case
(CNN) -- Rights group Amnesty International has condemned a reported Saudi court ruling sentencing a man to be paralyzed as retribution for having paralyzed another man as "outrageous."
In a statement issued Tuesday, the rights group called the punishment "torture," adding that it "should on no account be carried out."
Local media reports about the case surfaced over the weekend.
The Saudi Gazette, an English language daily paper, reported that Ali Al-Khawahir was 14 when he stabbed and paralyzed his best friend 10 years ago.
Al-Khawahir, who has been in prison ever since, has been sentenced to be paralyzed if he cannot come up with one million Saudi Riyals ($266,000) in compensation to be paid to the victim, the newspaper reported.
Saudi women allowed to ride bicycles
CNN cannot independently verify the reports.
"Paralyzing someone as punishment for a crime would be torture," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa deputy director.
"That such a punishment might be implemented is utterly shocking, even in a context where flogging is frequently imposed as a punishment for some offenses, as happens in Saudi Arabia."
The rights group calls this an example of a "qisas," or retribution, case, adding that "other sentences passed have included eye-gouging, tooth extraction, and death in cases of murder.
"In such cases, the victim can demand the punishment be carried out, request financial compensation or grant a conditional or unconditional pardon."
Despite repeated attempts, the Saudi Justice Ministry could not be reached for comment on the case.
"If implemented, the paralysis sentence would contravene the U.N. Convention against Torture to which Saudi Arabia is a state party and the Principles of Medical Ethics adopted by the UN General Assembly," Amnesty International said.
This is not the first time a "paralysis as punishment" sentence has made headlines in Saudi Arabia.
In 2010, local media reported the case of a 22-year-old man who was paralyzed in a fight, saying he had subsequently requested paralysis as punishment for the man he'd fought with.
After the initial reports, the Saudi Ministry of Justice denied that paralysis had ever been considered as punishment in that case.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 2332 GMT (0732 HKT)
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 0613 GMT (1413 HKT)
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2010 GMT (0410 HKT)
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0154 GMT (0954 HKT)
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.