Page last updated at 17:35 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Saudi paedophile to be beheaded

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A Saudi court has ruled that a man convicted of raping five children will be beheaded and crucified.

Muhammad Basheer al-Ramaly, 22, left his youngest victim, aged three, stranded in the desert to die.

He was caught when he tried to abduct another boy by offering him a lift home from school in his car.

The court of appeal in Riyadh approved the death sentence handed down in June. Beheading is permitted for serious offences in the conservative kingdom.

More than 40 people have been executed in such a fashion this year.

Reports suggest Ramaly lured children into his car near their school, near the town of Hail, and took them to isolated areas to rape them.

Human rights group Amnesty International has criticized the court proceedings saying Ramaly did not have access to a lawyer during his trial and that there are reports he may suffer from a psychological disorder.

International rights advocates have long been critical of the death sentences in Saudi Arabia, but the authorities defend the practice as a quick and clean form of execution sanctioned by the Islamic faith.

Crucifixion means the body will be attached to wooden beams and displayed in public after the beheading.

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