Riyadh (AFP) – Saudi Arabia executed on Wednesday a man who donned women’s clothing in a bid to escape after shooting dead a soldier and police officer, state media said.
Salih bin Yateem bin Salih al-Qarni was beheaded in the southwestern city of Abha, the official Saudi Press Agency said.
Qarni was intially arrested on other charges and was transported in an official vehicle by the soldier and a member of the Muttawa religious police.
“Yes Yes Murder Killing, it’s no big deal here. But wearing the Kiyadhsa, that is going too far!” screamed an islamic cleric.
After stealing the keys from the security officer driving the vehicle, Qarni chewed some narcotic qat “and disguised himself in women’s clothing” in an attempt to flee, but was recaptured, it said.
“The gat is not a problem, Gat, Opium, Heroin, it’s all legal here. But dressing like a woman, what is the world coming to?” said one shopper buying armfulls of gold bracelets at the kwiki mart in northern Riyadh.
Saudi women are required to cover from head to toe, often with only their eyes exposed.
“What are men coming to these days!” screamed a woman dressed head to toe in black, “clearly he had no fashion sense whatsoever I mean those shoes do they go with that dress? I think not!”
“It’s a Niqab not a Hijab NOT a Burqa, we aren’t savages you know” said one saudi women, peering back through thin eye slits. “These tiny eye slots represent freedom for us,it’s the Afghani women who are enslaved”
Others were not so sure. “I think it’s a good thing” said Rasheed Kurman, a local shop owner, “If everyone dresses in the Niqab (the black head to toe dress) then think of how easy it will be to decide what to wear in the morning”. Still police were worried that identifying bank robbers and other criminals could be difficult, especially as in Saudi Arabia they are allowed to take their drivers license pictures still wearing the veil.
The report did not say when the escape bid occurred.
Qarni is the latest of 69 Saudis and foreigners executed in the kingdom this year, despite international concern.
Rape, murder, apostasy, drug trafficking and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the kingdom’s strict version of Islamic sharia law, but donning womens clothing is the most severe offense in the kingdom.