Last edited: February 14, 2005

Saudi Official: Molestation Led to Beheadings

Sex Between Men Likely ‘Going on Daily’ in Arab Nation, Embassy Official Says

Washington Blade, 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, consensual."

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., 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 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 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 Arabia.

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