— The family of deceased Shah Jalal officially stated their pardon in the General Court in Jeddah, waiving the right to retribution from the convicted murderer, Riad-ul Haq Abdelhaq, 37, who will be released from prison in a few days after completing the state penalty of six years.
Riad-ul Haq described the waiting time as “killing” while waiting for the moment of execution after he came to know that the family of the deceased refused all reconciliation and forgiveness attempts.
“The prison guards came to me after Fajr prayer one day and told me to get ready but wouldn’t tell me for what. I felt my time was up and the executioner would be waiting. Noticing my face turn pale, the guards pacified me by telling me they were going to take me in for a department review at 8 A.M., but adding that I should recite holy verses.
“While getting ready, I knew my time of retribution was approaching which led to unsteady feet and my collapsing on the floor. I began to recall the details of the crime that I had committed six years ago, and for which I was remorseful every day and every moment.
“While the vehicle was moving towards the retribution yard, my tears poured out uncontrollably. I wished for death a million times before I had reached the yard, but it did not come willingly.
“After I was blindfolded, I heard heavy footsteps coming to where I was kneeling, and I thought those steps were of my executioner. My limbs froze as I blindly sat petrified, waiting for the sword to cut off my neck and take my life away, but that did not happen. Instead, loud voices around me congratulated my last-minute pardon by the victim’s family. I collapsed lifeless to the floor, sobbing and writhing within.”
In an exclusive, Okaz newspaper, the sister publication of Saudi Gazette, published the details of Riad’s pardon Saturday, acknowledging that it was only through the efforts of the prison’s staff who succeeded in collecting the blood money demanded by the victim’s family hours before the execution, that Riad lived to tell this tale. — SG