The death penalty in the Kingdom is only imposed for the most serious crimes and under strict conditions. It requires a final judgment to be rendered by a competent court after all trial proceedings before all levels of courts have run their course. A death-penalty case must be considered first before the court of first instance by three judges, and is then submitted to the court of second instance, namely the court of appeals, if it has not been appealed by any of the parties, and the judgment is reviewed by a panel composed of (5) judges. If the court of appeals upholds the ruling, it must be submitted to the Supreme Court to be reviewed by (5) judges. If the Supreme Court upholds the judgment, thus the stages of judicial review have been completed whereupon the public prosecutor shall supervise the execution of criminal sentences, including death sentences, in accordance with Paragraph (e) of Article (3) of the Law of the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution, promulgated by Royal Decree no. (M/56), dated 24/10/1409H, corresponding to 30/5/1989. Before the execution of the death sentence, the Public Prosecution ensures the validity and legality of the procedures followed and the correct application of the final judgment. It also ensures the absence of any legal impediment that may cause execution of the death sentence to be halted or postponed. In addition, the Public Prosecution has to observe the provisions of Article (217) of the Law of Criminal Procedure and Article (156) of the Implementing Regulations of the same law as per forming a committee to witness and verify the execution of the sentence, in accordance with Article (160) of the said Implementing Regulations. Worthy of note is that no State authority can amend or stop the judgments of qisas (retaliatory punishment) or hadd (Quranic prescribed punishment), given that such penalties are set forth in Islamic Shariah by unequivocal and irrefutable provisions that are confined to specific crimes in which conviction can only be based on hard evidence.
One feature of the tolerance of Islamic Shariah and the extent to which it is keen to evade the death penalty, a person sentenced to death may be pardoned by the authorities (the King) in case of ta'zir offences (for which the penalties are discretionary), or, in the case of qisas offences, by the next of kin of the victim or any of them, it being an irrevocable personal right of theirs to do so. It is emphasized, however, that a person convicted of killing may, if the next of kind are minors, request that their wishes concerning enforcement of the sentence be determined only after they have attained the age of the majority. It also takes only one of the next of kin of the victim, irrespective of their numbers, to issue a waiver in order for the death penalty to be set aside, even if the rest refuse the waiver. Based on the Holy Quran verse quoted above, "and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind" (Surat Al-Ma'idah, verse no. 32), intensive and frequently successful efforts are exerted by the reconciliation committees at the Emirates of the Regions, pursuant to Royal Decree No. KH/8/547, dated 03/11/1420H, corresponding to 08/02/2000, to appeal to the relatives of a victim to pardon the killer or accept diyah (blood money).
Based on the provisions of Islamic law in this context, including the two Quranic verses "and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another" (Surat Al-Zumar, verse no. 7) and "And whoever is killed unjustly -- We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life" (Surat Al-Israa, verse no. 33), given that the death penalty imposed against a pregnant woman is considered as an excessive act of killing because it entails killing two souls for one, and for other Shariah considerations, the death penalty is not carried out on a pregnant woman in the Kingdom until she gives birth; if she gives birth and does not find anyone to breastfeed her baby, the execution of the penalty is put off until the baby is weaned. Paragraph (1) of Article (214) of the Law of Criminal Procedure includes the right of the court that rendered a judgment of conviction to order that the execution of its penal judgment be postponed for material reasons to be clarified in its judgment reasons provided the period of postponement be specified in the judgment text. Article (157) of the Implementing Regulations of the same Law affirms the necessity of conducting a medical examination by a competent physician to check the health condition of the convict prior to the execution of the sentence of death. If the medical examination establishes that a female convict is pregnant, puerperium or is breastfeeding, the execution of the sentence of death shall be postponed until she gives birth and her puerperal or nursing period ends.