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And we call the Saudis our allies and friends?

Not only does the US provide aid, of one sort or another, to the Saudis but they are regarded as allies of the West.  The fact that it is a barbaric and backward country on so many levels - women aren't even allowed to drive cars! - seems to trouble no one.

The latest outrage and barbarism, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, is utterly, utterly appalling.   And this from and in country which has just been appointed as the Chair of a UN human rights panel.

"An international campaign calling on Saudi Arabia to halt the beheading and "crucifixion" of a young man arrested when he was still at high school is growing, but there are fears he could be killed at any time.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was 17 when he was arrested after attending a protest in the midst of the pro-democracy Arab Spring unrest of 2012.

Mr al-Nimr, now 21, the nephew of a high-profile Shiite cleric, was reportedly tortured, denied access to a lawyer before his trial and coerced into confessing to a range of charges, including joining a criminal group, carrying weapons and attacking police forces, according to human rights experts at the United Nations. He has denied those charges.

His punishment is a brutal one, even by Saudi Arabia's standards. Not only was Mr al-Nimr handed a death sentence, but the method of punishment was determined to be crucifixion, which human rights groups say means he will be beheaded and then have his mutilated body displayed publicly.

The death sentence was handed down on May 27 this year, and upheld this month, meaning he may be executed at any time.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr says he was tortured and coerced into signing confessions for crimes in a trial that has been condemned by the UN.

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world, with up to 134 executions - many by public beheading - already this year.

The UN was itself criticised this week for a decision to appoint a Saudi Arabian government representative, Faisal Trad, as the chairman of a new human rights panel. The panel will be responsible for choosing experts to report on human rights violations across the world. Amnesty International likened the appointment to "making a pyromaniac the town fire chief".


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