A Saudi prince was executed in Riyadh on Tuesday after a court found him guilty of shooting dead a fellow Saudi, official media reported, in a rare example of a ruling family member subjected to the death penalty.
It did not say how the prince was killed. Most people executed in the kingdom are beheaded with a sword.
Members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are only rarely known to have been executed. One of the most prominent cases was Faisal bin Musaid al Saud, who assassinated his uncle, King Faisal, in 1975.
The family is estimated to number several thousand. While members receive monthly stipends, and the most senior princes command great wealth and political power, only a few in the family hold nationally important government posts.
“The government.. is keen to keep order, stabilize security and bring about justice through implementing the rules prescribed by Allah…,” said the ministry statement.
A New York Times article about the 1975 execution said that some 10,000 people “watched silently as the executioner swung a sword with a golden hilt, but then thousands broke into chants of ‘God is great!’ and ‘Justice is done!’”
A couple of years later, a princess and her husband were accused of adultery and executed after the princess refused to marry a man selected by the family. The princess, Mishael, was shot as her husband, Khalid Muhallal, watched. He was then beheaded, according to a New York Times obituary of her grandfather, Prince Mohammed Ibn Abdel-Aziz.
It was unclear how many people watched the execution of Prince Turki on Tuesday or what their immediate reaction was.