Saudi Arabia expat worker with Coronavirus faces death penalty; Is he really guilty?

The expat worker's actions amount to first-degree murder, the Saudi prosecution says.

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Saudi Arabia could hand the death penalty to a Conronavirus patient who 'deliberately' spat on shopping carts and coins at his workplace. The prosecution in the hardline Islamic country said the expatriate worker will face capital punishment as he contaminated the public place despite knowing that he had coronavirus infection. His actions amount to first-degree murder, the prosecution said. However, it is not clear if the worker knew he had coronavirus.

The expatriate worker, whose nationality was not disclosed, was arrested a few days ago in the Baljurashi Governorate in the Al-Baha region. The Saudi authorities, however, revealed that the accused is an Arab. A video of his arrest was posted on Twitter wherein he was seen being escorted out of a poultry shop.

'Religiously and legally condemned'

"His act is considered among major crimes ... This behaviour is religiously and legally condemned. It is regarded as imparting corruption by deliberately seeking to spread the coronavirus epidemic among members of society and stirring panic among them," a prosecution source told Saudi online newspaper Ajel, the Gulf News reported.

"The story of the foreigner who tried to spread the coronavirus in Al-Mazra'a market in Baljurashi. He should get the execution penalty," a Saudi official tweeted, according to Albawaba. Officials explained that the man was tested positive for the coronavirus after he was apprehended from the store, where he was caught spitting on doors and shopping carts.

Coronavirus status as of 27 March, 2020
Coronavirus status as of 27 March, 2020 GISAID

Officers not wearing masks at the time of arrest

The video showing his apparent arrest also showed that some of the Saudi law enforcement officials were not wearing masks as they handled the accused. The wording of the statement also reveals that the man was tested positive after his arrest. However, the officials said "he was clearly aware of the fever and the cough he was suffering from at that time and his action was only aimed at killing other people".

If he was tested after his arrest, he would not have been aware of his infection, for all you know.

The coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia went past 1,000 on Saturday, with nearly 100 cases reported on Friday. At least three people have died of the virus so far, according to the Ministry of Health. The country is under lockdown. A day earlier, Turkey accused Saudi Arabia of lax preventive measures around the religious pilgrimage that caused a wave of infections.

In the US, known infections climbed well past 100,000, with more than 1,600 dead. Globally, the number of the infected people crossed 600,000 on Saturday.

Related topics : Coronavirus