Dáil Éireann - Volume 434 - 07 October, 1993

Written Answers. - Death Penalty in Saudi Arabia.

36. Miss Quill asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the increased use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia; if Ireland has made any protest in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): As the Deputy will be aware, Saudi Arabia applies the Shari'a, or Islamic law, based on the Koran. This prescribes the death penalty for those lawfully convicted of serious crimes, such as murder, rape or drug smuggling. I have seen reports of a substantial increase in the application of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia this year.

I regret the fact that many states retain the death penalty in their law. Ireland has abolished the death penalty and has acceded to the Second Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights. This is a major international instrument which provides for the abolition of the death penalty. We urge other countries to take similar steps and [554] I hope that our example will prompt the wider abolition of capital punishment.