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Rights group: Saudi sentence 'torture'

April 3, 2013 at 3:33 PM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 3 (UPI) -- Rights group Amnesty International said a Saudi court's sentencing of a man to be paralyzed if he can't pay compensation to a friend he attacked is outrageous.

CNN said it couldn't independently verify the report by Jeddah's Saudi Gazette that the court levied its sentence against Ali al-Khawahir, who was 14 when he stabbed and paralyzed his best friend 10 years ago.

Al-Khawahir has been in prison since the stabbing and reportedly has been sentenced to be paralyzed if he cannot come up with $266,000 to compensate his victim, CNN reported.

Amnesty International condemned such punishment as "torture" and said it shouldn't be carried out.

"Paralyzing someone as punishment for a crime would be torture," Ann Harrison, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa deputy director, said. "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."

Amnesty International said 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 U.N. General Assembly."

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