Sarhan al-Mashayekh was one of seven men whose death sentences were confirmed by King Abdullah on Saturday. The other six were due be shot by firing squad on Tuesday. Mashayekh would have been executed at the same time and then, to fulfil (sic) his additional sentence, his body displayed to the public in a cruciform position for three days.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights groups all exressed outrage at the sentences, partly because of their severity, partly because the defendants claimed confessions had been extracted under torture, and partly because at least two of those condemned were minors at the time the crimes were committed.
On Tuesday afternoon the sentences were put on hold, local officials and relatives said. The delay was ordered by Prince Faisal bin Khaled al-Saud, the governor of Asir province, where the case took place, one official said.
The seven were convicted of armed robbery, but one of the men, in an interview on Monday from his prison cell, claimed that the group was unarmed when they stole jewellery from a string of shops in the southern Saudi Arabian city of Abha in 2006. He said that confessions to armed robbery were beaten out of the men.
Way to out-Draco Draco, Wahhabis.Saudi authorities regularly order beheadings and other forms of death sentence for rape and murder, and while armed robbery can also attract the ultimate penalty it is employed more rarely. Crucifixion is occasionally ordered as an extra humiliation - and warning - even where the method of initial execution is beheading.