Summary Justice

January 19 (LBO) – Saudi Arabia has beheaded four Sri Lankans by the sword including a man serving a jail sentence, reports from the desert kingdom said, bringing an abrupt end to a three year struggle by rights organizations and the prisoners themselves for clemency.

An AFP news agency report quoting the Saudi Press Agency said Monday that Victor Corea, Ranjith De Silva, Santhosh Kumar and Sharmila Sangeeth Kumar were executed for robbing businesses at gunpoint.

But according to family members of the executed and rights organizations, Sangeeth Kumar was not even on death row.

In March 2004, four Sri Lankans, Victor Corea, Ranjith Silva, Sanath Pushpakumara and Sangeeth Kumara were arrested for involvement in robbery and possession of firearms.

They were convicted in October of the same year.

Fair Trial?

The prisoners protested that they were convicted without legal representation and proceedings were conducted in a language they did not understand and without calling witnesses.

The first three were told by Saudi officials that they were sentenced to death and Sangeeth Kumara was told that he was on a 15-year sentence.

Before his execution Ranjith Silva told LBO that the three were given documents in Arabic to sign, wh