Amidst the outrage and condemnation over the execution of Mrs Kudirat Adesola Afolabi, a widow and mother of two by the Saudi Arabian Government, the Ambassador to Nigeria has insisted that it was the right decision.
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 the dangerous menace.
The Saudi Arabian government’s position is coming after its 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 Saudi Arabia.
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, 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 characterized 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.
It further said its Ministry of Foreign Affairs is always in consultation with foreign embassies and consulates in the Kingdom, among which are the Nigerian Embassy in Riyadh and Consulate General in Jeddah.
It added that the Ministry provides the embassies and missions with all facilities and information and allows their staff to visit their nationals that are detained. “It is well-known for all those interested in travelling 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.