By: Soumadip Dey
Claim: A picture of a man about to be executed in public has resurfaced on social media. The picture is being shared with the claim that the man is being executed in Saudi Arabia for committing rape, and that India should take a page out of their book by implementing a similar law.
Source: Facebook and Twitter.
What Happened: An image of a public execution has been shared on social media by multiple people and pages where a man is about to be shot in public view. The image has been shared with the following caption:
This translates to:
‘This is the law in Saudi Arabia, where rapists are shot in the head. Do you think India also needs laws like these to punish rapists?’
This image and narrative has been circulating on Facebook and Twitter for a while now, and some of the posts have gathered thousands of shares, with many people strongly advocating similar capital punishment for rapists in India.
While the image and narrative date back to April 2018, the more recent posts are being shared by more and more people every hour, with the numbers increasing constantly.
Facts: The narrative attached to the picture is false because Saudi Arabia is definitely not a country known for stringent rape laws or acknowledging women’s rights. The ultra-conservative monarchy follows Wahabi Islamic Sharia laws, and the punishment for a person convicted of rape is a public beheading, not a shooting. However, there are no records of a public execution for rape like the one cited in the Facebook posts. There are records of criminals guilty of both rape and murder being executed, as murder is also a capital crime in Saudi Arabia.
In fact, according to many media reports, rape victims have also been punished in Saudi Arabia. Also, there is no penal code in Saudi Arabia and there is no written law which specifically criminalizes rape or prescribes its punishment.’ There has also been a case where a victim of gang rape was sentenced to receive 200 lashes for being alone with a man who was not a relative.
The image that was posted along with the narrative in the misleading Facebook posts is actually from Yemen and the incident took place in July, 2009.
The person being executed, Hamdi al-Kabas, was found guilty of raping and murdering an 11-year-old boy, and was executed by gunshot in a public execution. Here are a few images from the same incident.