Father of student choked to death in Riyadh school fight forgives son’s killer

Schools in Riyadh and throughout Saudi Arabia have for years been running awareness campaigns aimed at preventing bullying and violence among students. (SPA)
Updated 12 September 2019

Father of student choked to death in Riyadh school fight forgives son’s killer

  • Schools in Riyadh and throughout Saudi Arabia have for years been running awareness campaigns aimed at preventing bullying and violence among students

RIYADH: The father of a Saudi student who died after a fight with a classmate has said he forgives his son’s killer.
The parent of the sixth grader has urged authorities not to punish any managers or teachers from the Riyadh elementary school over the incident.
The show of forgiveness sparked a huge response on social media with posters offering condolences and messages of support.
According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the General Directorate of Education in Riyadh, the student died after being choked during a fight with another youngster on Monday morning.
Ali Al-Ghamdi, a spokesman for the Riyadh Education Department, said the incident was caught on surveillance cameras at the school, which is located on the outskirts of the capital.
Teachers tried to help the student and called for an ambulance, but the boy died on his way to hospital, Al-Ghamdi added.
Saudi news website Sabq reported that the dead student’s father had later pardoned his son’s attacker and appealed for school management and teachers not to face punishment over the matter.
On Twitter @teacher_rights said: “What the father of the student did is a lesson to be taught.” @Avav_1900 said: “A thousand lessons of ethics.” @thamralkhzay43 said: “The child should be punished severely so he doesn’t commit this violence again. He is 12 years old, which means he is aware that his action was wrong.”
Schools in Riyadh and throughout Saudi Arabia have for years been running awareness campaigns aimed at preventing bullying and violence among students.
Dr. Nadia Nusair, a family psychological counselor, said: “Bullying is a form of violence and abuse directed at a person or a group of people with the least physical or psychological strength. It is followed by intimidation and threats, and may be practiced in school, work or other places.”
“In the case in Riyadh, the student used direct bullying by beating and suffocating his classmate. In a questionnaire about who is most influential on the phenomenon of violence, the result was: 35 percent influence of parents and education, 27 percent school, and 38 percent the influence of social media and media in its different forms.”
Nusair said bullies had often been the victim of bullying themselves with some children being subjected to violence at home.
She stressed the importance of victims of bullying bringing it to the notice of others as early as possible.
Supervisor of a boy’s school in Riyadh, Ibrahim Al-Khbrani, told Arab News that following Monday’s tragedy students and staff had gathered to discuss the incident.


Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

Updated 16 September 2019

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

TOKYO: Taro Kono, the defense minister of Japan, said that threats to his country’s oil supply was the “most worrying scenario” he could imagine in international relations, in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities. 

“The most pessimistic scenario right now is that something happens in the Straits of Hormuz and the oil supply gets cut down, and that would send a shock wave through the global economy. I think the price of oil is already rising after this attack on Saudi facilities, so that’s the most worrying scenario right now,” he told a conference in Tokyo, Japan.

However, speaking on the sidelines to Arab News, he insisted that Saudi Arabia would remain a reliable partner of Japan - which imports around 40 per cent of its crude from the Kingdom - and downplayed concerns about long-term supply problems.

“Saudi has been and will be an important source of our energy supply. We have international co-ordination, and we have reserves, so we are not really worried about that,” he said. 

Kono, who was until recently Japan’s foreign minister, said that his country would be seeking to promote diplomatic solutions to the latest Middle East conflagration. "We definitely need to ease the tension between those countries. As Foreign Minister, the last thing I was doing was calling the Iranian Foreign Minister and the French Foreign Minister to ease the tension the region through diplomatic actions, and I think it's important to continue doing it.

“This Houthi attack on Saudi is a little different, because it's a terrorist attack. I think we may require some kind of military operation against those drone attacks, and that's something out of Japan's constitutional boundary. I think Japan will be focusing on diplomatic efforts in easing tension in the region.”

He raised concerns about the apparent lack of sophistication in the recent attacks. “If it is really drones, that is a lot cheaper than any form of conventional missile,” he said.