Saudi Official: Molestation Led to Beheadings
Sex Between Men Likely ‘Going on Daily’ in Arab Nation, Embassy
January 11, 2002
By Kim Krisberg
An official at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, D.C., is explaining
the beheadings of three men last week as the result of the men’s alleged
sexual abuse of young boys, not their homosexuality.
"I would guess there’s sodomy going on daily in Saudi Arabia … but
we don’t have executions for it all the time," said Tarik Allagany,
information supervisor at the Saudi Arabian embassy.
Allagany initially replied to an e-mail protesting the report of the
beheadings, which reportedly stemmed in part from the men’s sexual
orientation. "We have the death penalty in Saudi Arabia for certain
crimes," Allagany wrote. "Among these crimes are murder, rape,
homicide, and drug trafficking. The men who were recently executed in Saudi
Arabia sexually abused young boys. The act was not as you say,
Allagany’s comments came in response to Justin Leach, who e-mailed the
embassy saying, in part, "Your government doesn’t seem to be doing a
good job at projecting a very civilized image. Beheading people because they
engage in consenting sexual activities is unbelievable. … Whomever reads
this: what if your brother or son was born homosexual? Would you be so cold as
to wish for their execution?"
Allagany, information supervisor at the Saudi Arabian embassy, told the
Blade that he read about the beheadings in a report from the government-owned
Saudi Press Agency. Allagany said he inferred from the article that the death
penalty was handed down because the men had been charged with molesting young
boys, which Allagany interpreted as meaning rape. He had no information on the
age of the boys in question.
"One of the charges [the men] had was sexually molesting young boys,
and [Saudi Arabia] does have the death penalty for rape," Allagany said.
Allagany said sodomy is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and added that it is
illegal in many U.S. states as well.
Allagany said he did not talk directly with someone at the Saudi Press
Agency or with anyone at the Saudi Interior Ministry, which released a
statement announcing the convictions and the beheadings.
ArabNews.com, listed as Saudi Arabia’s first English-language daily news
source, reported on Jan. 2 that "three Saudi men convicted of sodomy and
marrying each other were beheaded yesterday in the southwestern city of Abha,
the Interior Ministry said in a statement." The report also said the men
were found guilty of "molesting the young."
A reporter at ArabNews.com in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who refused to give his
name, said that the three men were indicted for molesting young boys, but that
the men were executed for homosexuality and that homosexuality is a crime that
warrants the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. The reporter from ArabNews.com
said his source was the Saudi Press Agency.
Faisal Alam, founder of Al-Fatiha, a gay Muslim group, said he had an
e-mail exchange with a gay man in Saudi Arabia who did not believe the men
were beheaded because of homosexuality. The Saudi Arabian man cited the fact
that unlike countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia has not begun a
state-sponsored targeting of the gay community.
But Alam isn’t so sure.
"The fact that [Saudi Arabia] doesn’t want to give information to
[groups like Amnesty International] may mean that the facts have been
manipulated in some way," he said.
According to Al-Fatiha and the International Lesbian & Gay Association,
Saudi Arabian law is based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law. Under
that law, sodomy is considered a form of adultery and therefore receives the
same punishment. That punishment is stoning to death for married persons and
100 lashes and banishment for unmarried persons. But to convict someone on
those charges according to Saudi law, four confessions are required on four
separate occasions or four witnesses need to see the incident.
In a statement from Al-Fatiha, Alam wrote: "Given the horrendous human
rights record of the Saudi government, it is unlikely that the men confessed
willingly or that there were four witnesses to the acts in question."
Sydney Levy at the International Lesbian & Gay Human Rights Commission
said he believes that the three men were beheaded for being gay, but added, as
many other advocacy group such as Amnesty International have, that is
extremely difficult to get any information concerning this case out of Saudi
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