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Saudi Court Rejects Paralysis as Punishment

A Saudi court has rejected a request to sever a man's spinal cord as punishment for paralyzing another man in a fight two years ago. The High Court in Tabuk province Monday said 22-year-old Abdulaziz al-Mutairi should instead accept monetary compensation for his injuries.

Mutairi was paralyzed after his spinal cord was severed by a cleaver during the fight. He had requested that his attacker suffer the same fate.

Amnesty International had said earlier that the court approached several hospitals about the possibility of paralyzing the attacker in a medical setting. The international human rights group urged the state not to carry out such a penalty.

Saudi Arabia follows an austere version of Sunni Islam that includes floggings for some offenses, amputations for thieves, and public beheadings for crimes including murder, rape and drug smuggling.

Human rights activists say that while Islamic law stipulates like-for-like punishments, victims or their surviving family members can often be persuaded to forgive an assailant, sometimes in exchange for monetary compensation, called "blood money."

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.