Saudi Boy Avoids Death Penalty For Shooting Elderly Relative After Mistaking Her For Monkey

A young Saudi boy has been spared from execution after fatally shooting a relative he mistook for a monkey.

According to the Independent, family members told judges on Saturday they have concluded that, despite the absurdity of this alibi, the killing was an accident and they will be dropping the case.

The judges sent the boy to prison for an undisclosed amount of time instead of the original sentence, which was public execution by way of hanging.

Residents of his village told local Saudi newspapers that they will be campaigning for his release.

Last week it was reported that the boy killed his relative, a woman in her 60s, while she was collecting leaves from a tree to feed to her sheep.

From a distance, the boy saw what he thought was a monkey trying to damage a neighborhood tree and fired a weapon at what turned out to be one of his relatives.

Saudi Arabia's criminal justice system is based on Sharia law. More than 20 crimes are punishable by death, and many executions, which include beheadings, stonings, hangings and even crucifixions, take place in public.

Yet despite the traditionally brutal punishments, the Independent reports that victims of crimes can pardon the perpetrators by appealing to the Pardon Committee.

This can significantly reduce a punishment, with the typical sentence for a pardoned murder just three years in prison.

Many Saudi victims of crime pardon perpetrators because the act of forgiveness is highly regarded in the Muslim faith.

Another option is requesting a "dya," or a financial compensation from the criminal.

Via: The Independent, Top Photo Credit: Getty Images