Flag of Saudi Arabia

A Saudi man in his thirties, identified by the name Mutannish in reports, has been sentenced to death for causing two onlookers to die during a driving demonstration of Hagwalah – one of the wild displays of drifting we're used to seeing from that part of the world. During the show, two were killed when a person in the audience was hit and fell onto another. The driver then sped off, failing to provide any assistance. His sentence was likely influenced by the fact that he went into hiding and that he was wanted for the same crime, the death of an onlooker, at previous event.

The specific charge wasn't disclosed, but a report says the Kingdom treats such incidents as criminally negligent homicide. In the U.S., depending on the state, a driver in the same situation could be charged with anything from vehicular manslaughter to first-degree vehicular homicide, the primary charge aggravated by fleeing the scene. As one might expect, our sentencing doesn't come anywhere close to the death penalty, though: a maximum of thirty years in prison for vehicular homicide is the penalty in Minnesota but only in cases of DUI, whereas in Alabama the same charge only merits a maximum of five years in prison. In Florida, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene is a first-degree felony with a maximum 30-year prison term, before the additional charges and the previous offense are factored in.

The sentence will be carried out by sword, but the Gazette didn't indicate when the defendant will receive it. Nor did it give any indication as to whether the verdict can be appealed, as in the case of another Saudi man first sentenced to death for a similar crime. The other man's death sentence was 'reduced' to 3,000 lashes, 20 years in prison and a lifetime driving ban.