Saudi Arabia executes prince convicted of murder – Interior Ministry

© Reuters
Saudi Arabia has executed a member of its royal family for the first time in four decades. The prince was sentenced to death after being convicted of shooting and killing another man in a fight, the country's Interior Ministry announced.

Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabir was put to death in Riyadh for killing Adel al-Mahemid during a brawl, according to an Interior Ministry statement published by the Saudi Press Agency on Tuesday. 

Announcing the execution, the ministry said it would serve to assure the people that Riyadh is “keen to preserve security and achieve justice.”

The victim's uncle, Abdul Rahman al-Falaj, also said the sentence reflected the Gulf kingdom's “fair justice system,” Arab News reported.

Kabir appears to have been sentenced to death in November 2014, according to Arab News, which reported that an unnamed prince had received such a sentence at that time.

The killing reportedly took place at a camp on the edge of Riyadh in December 2012, the media outlet reported.

Although the Interior Ministry did not explain how Kabir was killed, most executions in the Gulf kingdom are carried out by beheading with a sword in a public square.

The execution marks the first time that a member of the royal family has been put to death for murder since 1975, when Prince Faisal bin Musaid was beheaded for assassinating King Faisal.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict Islamic legal code, under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Kabir was the 134th person to be put to death in the country in 2016, according to an AFP tally of ministry statements. Despite global concern over its policies, Riyadh maintains that the death penalty is a deterrent against committing crimes.

At least 158 death sentences were carried out in 2015, making Saudi Arabia the country with the third most executions, after Iran and Pakistan, according to Amnesty International.