In a rare turn of events, Saudi Arabia has executed a member of its royal family for murder.
Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabeer was put to death in the capital Riyadh for shooting a man dead during a mass brawl.
The prince had pleaded guilty to the shooting and killing of fellow Saudi citizen Adel bin Suleiman bin Abdulkareem al-Muhaimeed.
A court found him guilty in 2013 ago for the incident.
Death penalty is a norm in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape etc are all punishable by death.
However, in a country where murderers are regularly charged with capital punishment, thieves have their hands cut off and adulterers are lashed and stoned to death in public, high profile crimes are brushed under the rug. Until now.
The prince was 134th person to be put to death this year. What makes this sentencing rare, is the fact that he was a member of the royal family, generally above all rules and regulations.
His life could have been spared if the victim's family had accepted blood money in accordance with the Islamic rule, but the offer (reportedly millions of dollars) was refused.
The victim’s father said he was not ready to pardon his son’s murderer and the amount of blood money offered was not enough to compensate the loss of a son.
Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister and Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, approved the execution.
"There is no difference between big and small, rich and poor ... Nobody is allowed to interfere with the judiciary's decision. This is the tradition of this state. We are committed to following the sharia," he said.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, a member of the royal family told the New York Times that Prince al-Kabir was a member of one of the most important branches of the royal family though not in the line of descendents of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the country.
The act is rare, but welcoming in a place where princes, one Khalid bin Sa’ad bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud to be specific, get away with kidnapping, raping, murdering and dumping a girl’s body in broad day light.
Just recently, Princess Hassa, the only daughter of King Salman, claimed diplomatic immunity after allegedly ordering her bodyguard to execute a French painter.