Saudi Arabia, already under scrutiny for its draconian punishments for drug offenses and other victimless crimes, just registered yet another medieval barbarism. Bahrain's Gulf Digital News reported Dec. 27 that a man convicted of possession of 59 kilograms of cannabis (about 130 pounds) was sentenced to 10 years in prison—and 1,200 lashes. The Criminal Court in Mecca also fined the presumed trafficker 100,000 riyals (about $25,000) and banned him from travelling abroad for 10 years on serving his term. He was arrested by a police patrol after a search of his vehicle found the stash hidden inside the spare wheel.
This is at least the second flogging sentence handed down for a cannabis-related offense in the desert kingdom this year. The Independent reported in September that a man was sentenced to 15 years and 1,500 lashes for smuggling drugs into a prison using a drone. The convict reportedly used a small four-propellor drone to land a stash of 115 grams of cannabis and some 2,000 stimulant pills on the roof of the main prison in Jeddah.
But these guys actually got off light—possibly because both were Saudi nationals. Two Yemeni nationals accused of bringing hashish into the kingdom were were sentenced to death and beheaded in the southwestern city of Jazan last February.