31 death row inmates pardoned in Saudi Arabia

July 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, July 11 (UPI) -- Thirty-one Saudi Arabian death row inmates have been pardoned during the last eight months, officials told a Saudi newspaper.

The families or tribes of those who have been pardoned paid diya, or blood money, or were otherwise pardoned by the victims' families, the daily newspaper al-Sharq reported.

Under Saudi law, a convicted murderer can be pardoned if he or she is pardoned by the victim's relatives, either through the diya system or the fulfillment of other demands, Gulf News said Thursday.

"Most pardon cases were related to paying diya," a source told al-Sharq. "However, in a few cases, it was just the families pardoning the culprit."

Lawyer Abdul Aziz al-Zamel said a victim's relatives' pardon has to be documented in a court of law.

"Three judges check the information and the form of the granted pardon before they allow the procedures to go ahead," al-Zamel said. "They also check whether the families pardoning the prisoners had any special conditions or requirements."

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