Saudi Arabian citizens have taken to Twitter over the past week to praise their monarchy’s upholding of equal justice under Sharia law following the execution of a member of the royal family found guilty of fatally shooting a civilian. Many used an Arabic hashtag that translates roughly to “Decisive Salman orders retribution for the prince.”
Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabir, who pleaded guilty to killing Adel bin Sulaiman bin Abdulkareem Al-Mihaimeed in a street fight in 2012, was publicly executed on Oct. 18—likely by beheading. The prince, who was far from being a potential heir to the throne, became the first member of the Saudi royal family to be executed since 1975.
“The Ministry of Interior confirms to everybody that the government… is keen to keep order, stabilize security and bring about justice through implementing the rules prescribed by Allah Almighty on whoever violates the sanctity of civilians and commits bloodshed,” the Saudi state news agency said in its announcement of the execution, adding that the government “warns whoever dares to commit such a crime that the Sharia penalty is waiting.”
The praise was likely welcome for Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy, headed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his advising relatives, as it has come under criticism for its members’ extravagant lifestyles and corrupt political practices while low oil prices continue to hurt the Gulf state’s economy. Nearly 40 percent of the kingdom’s gross domestic product, or GDP, comes from oil. Notably, 31-year-old deputy prince Mohammed bin Salman splurged on a 440-foot, $550 million yacht while on vacation in the south of France last year.