We will continue to execute

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With reference to Mr Robert Fisk's ferocious attack on Saudi Arabia's judicial system in Monday's Independent, it must be stressed that there are no extra-judicial executions in the Kingdom. All death sentences are passed after due process and, in accordance with the Sharia, which for one billion Muslims represents the sacred word of the Koran.

The rise in the number of executions is obviously due to the increase in the number of drug smugglers, the deadliest enemies of the young on whom the nation's hope for mental and physical health and constant advancement in every field are founded.

As for the West's participation in the second Gulf war in 1990, this reflected the West's own concern with its own interests. Let us not play games here.

Talking about western nations, it was in the West that two destructive world wars were initiated, costing humanity more than 50 million lives - not to mention the wounded and the maimed. It was the West that bred both Communism and Nazism. It was the West which invented and used the atomic bomb. And it is this very West that now shudders in shame and agony every time a murderer or a drug smuggler is executed in Saudi Arabia.

Well, we are not going to oblige the guilt-ridden liberals who use protesting against Islamic justice as a sop to their consciences. Nor are we going to allow our country to be a safe haven for murderers, rapists and those who turn our children into doomed addicts.

In savagely criticising Saudi Arabia's judicial system Mr Fisk should look at the other side of the coin, which is that our country, by being adamant in the application of the law as a deterrent to crime, remains one of the safest in the world: anybody who visits the Kingdom can vouch for this. Only Monday, the case of Mr Barrie Grundy, a British Aerospace engineer working in Saudi Arabia, was reported in the Daily Telegraph and Daily Star. Mr Grundy, back in Britain on holiday, was a victim of a vicious attack at a supermarket. This incident has left him scarred for life. He said that the British are much too lax and that he can walk anywhere in Saudi Arabia and feel much safer than being in England in broad daylight.

Islamic justice has nothing to be ashamed of. It is stern but it is just. Prosecution cases are first referred to the High Sharia Court composed of three judges. They are then passed to the High Court of Appeal consisting of five judges, followed by referral to the Supreme Judicial Council, also composed of five judges.

It would seem most unusual for 13 judges to want to condemn an innocent person to death.

The writer is Ambassador for Saudi Arabia.