What Price for Blood?

Murder and Justice in Saudi Arabia

By Robert J. Meadows
(Robert Reed Publishers, Hardcover, 9781885003317, 171pp.)

Publication Date: January 2010

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On December 12, 1996, the body of Australian nurse Yvonne Gilford was discovered in her apartment in a western compound in Saudi Arabia. She had been stabbed over a dozen times, bludgeoned and suffocated. While theories floated as to who may have killed Gilford, two british nurses were arrested and subsequently wrote detailed confessions to the murder. Later, the nurses retracted their confessions stating they were written under the threats of torture and rape. Yet, the nurses were convicted and faced lashings and the possibility of death by beheading. The case broke new ground in several areas. For the first time, defense lawyers participated in a capital crime trial. Also for the first time, in the hope of dispelling Western concepts about decapitation, hands being cut off, etc., a Western writer has obtained case information about the secretive labyrinth of Islamic legal procedures and the Saudi justice system. In What Price Blood? Robert Meadows describes a system of justice completely different in concept from Western law, including the principles that the victim's family is the prosecution, not the state, and where the execution of a convicted murderer can be annulled by the payment of blood money. Here is a revealing glimpse of Islamic culture and justice that few Westerners have ever seen.

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