Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Saudi Arabian government has insisted that the execution of Mrs Kudirat Adesola Afolabi, a widow and mother of two, was carried out after exhausting all legal procedures.
The government also said it is determined to apply the law on any person against whom evidence is established in order to combat drug trafficking and protect its citizens from drug menace.
The Saudi Arabian government’s position was made known after the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Nigeria, Adnan Bostaji, said in Abuja on Thursday after a closed- door meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman, that the execution was in compliance with the laws of the country.
Recall that Afolabi was on Monday executed in Saudi Arabia alongside two Pakistan nationals and a Yemeni for trafficking in drugs.
The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abuja, while reacting to media reports credited to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said Afolabi was accorded every legal right before the death sentence was carried out on her.
Dabiri-Erewa was reported to have said that the execution of Afolabi was pathetic and tragic, adding that the news of the tragedy was painful.
The embassy however said death sentence is only carried out in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after all proofs and legal evidence have been exhausted.
“With reference to the statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, as published on the cover page of The Nation newspaper of 3/4/2019, titled “Fed Govt kicks as Saudi Arabia executes Nigerian,” written by Augustine Ehikioya, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Abuja, clarifies as follows:
“The Embassy affirms that all legal and judicial procedures were followed regarding the accused person, and she was accorded every legal right before the death sentence was carried out on her.
“All accused persons subjected to the legal process in Saudi courts of law are allowed access to lawyers to litigate on their behalf, and the kingdom avails itself the responsibility to provide lawyers for any persons that have no financial ability to do so.
“All convicted persons on whom the death penalty has been carried out in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have gone through trials characterised by legal guarantee of justice to their case because the Kingdom’s judicial system is established on objectivity and is dependent, in terms of its rules and regulations, on the Islamic Law, which has always restored rights to their owners and done justice to the victims. This is what the Kingdom has always affirmed.
“The death sentence is only carried out in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after all proofs and legal evidence have been exhausted regarding the accused, and the process goes through various legal stages until the allegations against the detained persons have been proven beyond reasonable doubt,” the Saudi Arabian government said.
The Saudi Arabian government further said its Ministry of Foreign Affairs is always in consultation with foreign embassies and consulates in the Kingdom, of which are the Nigerian Embassy in Riyadh and Consulate-General in Jeddah.
It added that the ministry provides the embassies and missions with all facilitation and information and allows their staff to visit their nationals that are detained, vis-à-vis, a variety of charges related to the different stages of their detention and prosecution, adding that it allows every form of their request through the normal channels.
“It is well-known for all those interested in traveling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the penalty for drug trafficking is the death sentence and the said sentence is applied on all persons convicted without any exceptions, as long as the evidence is established against them, and this is conveyed to every person prior to his trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not neglect the enforcement of penalties in terms of matters of drug trafficking and is determined to apply the law on any person against whom evidence is established in order to combat drug trafficking and protect its citizens from this dangerous menace,” the Saudi Arabian government further said.