Two human rights organisations have filed a complaint at the United Nations against arbitrary executions in Saudi Arabia, especially after last month’s execution of dozens of prisoners in a single day in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
The European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) and Reprieve, a UK-based non-profit organisation of international lawyers and investigators, said the Riyadh regime openly declared its disregard for international principles as well as its commitments and obligations, by executing 81 men, 41 of whom were Shia Muslims, in a single day on March 12, in what they alleged to be terror-related offences.
The organisations stressed that special rapporteurs have pointed to various counts of violations, including torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary detention, in their reports, and informed the Saudi government in several letters about their occurrence.
They highlighted that the recent and previous executions of anti-regime demonstrators and minors show that Saudi Arabia, contrary to official promises, continues to arbitrarily carry out death sentences.
The organisations noted that dozens of people, among them at least five minors and prisoners of conscience such as Muslim scholar Sheikh Hassan Farhan al-Maliki and Sheikh Salman al-Ouda, are currently on death row and face the risk of execution.
Saudi Arabia has
executed 100 people since the start of 2022
Saudi Arabia has reportedly now executed 100 people so far this year after beheading four more people last Thursday.
The human rights organisations in their report warn that Saudi Arabia’s disregard for its obligations, especially the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), requires a decisive stance from the Human Rights Council, and proves the failure of the Saudi government’s propaganda campaign before the Council over the past years.
Taha al-Hajji, a Saudi defence lawyer and legal consultant for the ESOHR, said documents from a number of cases included in the mass execution confirmed their lack of justice.
He pointed out that the defendants were subjected to torture and deprivation of adequate defence for themselves, and that many of those executed faced charges that were not very serious.
State news agency Saudi Press Agency confirmed that on March 12 the authorities had executed 81 people in one day on a variety of offences.
Of the 81 people, 73 were Saudi citizens, seven were Yemeni and one was a Syrian national.
Executions so far in 2022 exceed the total number of Saudi Arabia’s punishments by death for the whole of last year.
Back in early January 2016, Saudi authorities also executed 47 people, including prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who had vociferously called for democracy in the kingdom and advocated anti-regime protests.
Nimr had been arrested in Qatif, Eastern Province, in 2012.
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has reportedly executed more than 900 prisoners in an increasing rate.
In 2019 alone, the kingdom set a record number of executions after authorities executed 184 people, despite a general decrease in the number of executions around the world.
Iran has condemned the Saudi mass executions as ‘an inhumane measure that contravenes the basic principles of human rights and international law.’
In April 2020, Reprieve said Saudi Arabia had carried out its 800th
The report added that executions have almost doubled in only five years in comparison with the 423 executions conducted in Saudi Arabia from 2009 through 2014.
Ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested dozens of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.
Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied.
Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.
- Iranian lawmakers have condemned the devastating Saudi-led war on Yemen, which is now into its eighth year, and expressed their support for the ‘brave resistance of the Yemenis in the face of this aggression’.
In a statement issued on Monday, 234 lawmakers said: ‘We condemn this blatant aggression and call for an end to military strikes, the killing of the oppressed Yemeni people, and the lifting of the blockade on the country.’
The Iranian lawmakers also expressed their support for the ‘brave resistance’ of Yemen’s popular Ansarullah resistance movement and the resilient Yemeni nation.
‘Over the past seven years, the Saudi government, backed by global arrogant superpowers, has committed various war crimes through continued bombing of Yemeni cities and villages,’ the statement continued.
‘They have massacred thousands of children, women and men among the Yemeni civilians, prevented entry of medicine, food and humanitarian aid to the war-ravaged country through imposition of a brutal blockade, and exposed millions of the oppressed Yemenis to hunger, disease, poverty and annihilation.’
The Iranian MPs’ statement emphasised: ‘The double standards applied by the so-called advocates of human rights and the United Nations as well as other international organisations claiming to support peace, freedom and the rights of nations have become evident for everybody more than any time before, following seven years of destructive war against the independent country and people of Yemen.’
Such organisations, the Iranian lawmakers said, are governed by arrogant and evil powers and the oppressed people of the world have no hope that the international institutions will defend their violated rights.
Launched in late March 2015, the war on Yemen was aimed at crushing the Ansarullah resistance movement and re-installing the former Riyadh-friendly regime in the Yemeni capital Sana’a within weeks, but Riyadh continued the war after failing miserably.
The Saudi-led war coalition (which includes the United Arab Emirates) has been mainly using airstrikes to attack Yemeni targets, including residential areas in the capital Sana’a and elsewhere in the country.
The coalition has received logistical and intelligence support from the United States, Britain, and France.
In recent months, there have been serious escalations in the still-asymmetrical war, as the Yemeni armed forces have pushed forward and broadened their retaliatory strikes, bringing the war to Saudi and Emirati soil.
In turn, Saudi Arabia has intensified its air raids and tightened its siege on Yemen by seizing its fuel tankers on several occasions.
Because of the seven years of war and the accompanying siege, in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, Yemen is now facing the worst man-made catastrophe in the world.
However, a senior member of the political bureau of Yemen’s popular Ansarullah resistance movement, Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, speaking in an interview with Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television network last week, said: ‘The liberation of Yemen is inevitable.’