Saudi releases startling murder statistics study
Murders follow a few similar patterns in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock)
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Recent statistics from the Ministry of Interior show that murders committed in the Kingdom in 1434 H were 2,621 by Saudis and 2,325 by non-Saudis.
According to a paper by lecturer Sara Barakat Al-Juweir of King Saud University, entitled “Motives for Murder Among Men and Women in Saudi Society,” there are, for various reasons, no reliable statistics on spousal murders.
Lawyer Abdul Rahman Al-Subhi said the authorities were “discreet” when it came to some murders, especially those of spouses, since the information could harm relatives and children as well as other members of society.
Though officials avoid making statements about such crimes, claiming that they are ugly and rare, the crimes are nonetheless increasing in numbers to an extent that makes it necessary to admit their existence and try to solve the problem, said Al-Subhi.
Al-Juweir said the reasons for such crimes include emotional anxiety, psychological problems, jealousy, hate, revenge and shame.
“Psychological and criminal studies reveal emotional deprivation and economic factors as significant reasons among men for murder,” she said, citing a recent American study that categorized recorded murders within a specific period into three groups: family crimes, crimes among acquaintances, and crimes in which the murdered are not known to the murderer.
The study showed that more men than women commit murder.
Another important motive that leads men to murder their wives is honor, said Al-Juweir.
These crimes may be related to husbands discovering their wives had committed adultery or to having doubts about her fidelity, while some husbands may have psychological troubles that include paranoia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Al-Juweir said extenuating circumstances may result in reduced punishments for murders and may include the excuse of provocation which is considered a special excuse only accepted in case of specific crimes, such as murder or beatings which result in death.
She said that this extenuation does not apply to a spouse who commits murder.
Recent studies show that most murders, among both men and women, occur among those with middle or high school education as well as among parents with lower educational levels.
The type of murders differ based on age.
According to Hamed Al-Shariji, an expert in criminology at King Saud University, the reasons among men, especially of murders of family members such as wives or children, include psychological and mental status, use of drugs or social pressure.
He said there were two types of crimes. One occurs as a result of a specific motive and leads to violence resulting in injury or death; the other is premeditated which means the murderer plans the murder carefully and carries it out.
Spontaneous crimes, he said, are more dangerous because they are unexpected.
“Criminals who plan their crimes bear full responsibility before the court; they are aware of their actions. In the case of spontaneous crimes, the perpetrator may have lost self-control and be unaware of what he or she is doing,” said Al-Shariji.
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