Friday, June 19, 2015

Comparative criminal law: ISIS and Saudi Arabia

In my February post European Citizenship, I expressed outrage and dismay that the European People's Party, which is generally "my" party, opposed a European Parliament resolution in support of Raif Badawi.

What was the reason for this? According to Vote Watch: "The EPP group voted against the resolution and explained that it could not support the text as it stands because it associates Saudi Arabia with the organisation Islamic State, in regard to the type of punishments used. EPP representatives argued that they disapprove of the said association..." This rationale was confirmed by sources close to EPP, but I will not cite them, because they have not authorized me to do this. (Of course, the decision of the European People Party did not prevent nice people from its group to vote for the resolution despite the official party line.)

The "said association" between Saudi Arabia and ISIS "in regard to the type of punishments used", however, is the pure and simple truth. The diagram below, which went viral, is copied from the article Crime and punishment: Islamic State vs Saudi Arabia, by Mary Atkinson and Rory Donaghy, published in the Middle East Eye on Jan. 20:

From the same article:

"The Islamic State (IS) and Saudi Arabia prescribe near-identical punishments for a host of crimes, according to documents circulated by the militant group. IS published a list of crimes and their punishments on 16 December 2014 to serve “as an explanation and as a warning” to those living in territory under their control in large parts of Iraq and Syria. The document lists hadd crimes, which are considered to be “against the rights of God,” and includes fixed punishments for theft, adultery, slander and banditry. Crimes deemed hadd and their punishments are derived from the Quran and the hadith, the collected teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad... But  while IS has actively sought exposure for their brutal punishments, Saudi Arabia has worked to keep evidence of their actions within the conservative kingdom. Authorities on Saturday arrested a police officer accused of videoing a woman being publicly beheaded in Mecca."

So the European Parliament members could be confident that criminal law of ISIS and Saudi Arabia is practically identical, as the resolution stated. Maybe the European People's Party worried that stating this inconvenient truth was too undiplomatic. However, the West's experience with Islamist states (e.g. the saga of the Bulgarian medics accused in infecting Libyan children with HIV) shows that it is to no avail to be diplomatic with them. If you are, they just smile in your face and continue their barbarities.

No comments: