Mass executions in Saudi Arabia with more than 100 people executed since January 2019


By Abdoul Razak Ahmadou Youssoufou, on 7 June 2019

Massive human rights violations

Saudi Arabia once again made the headline by executing 37 of its citizens, the majority of whom were Shia men convicted after mock trials that violated international standards of fairness, based on "confessions" extracted under torture. Among the latter was also a young man Abdulkareem al Hawaj, convicted of charges that took place when he was still a minor (16 years old). These facts once again demonstrate the minimal value that the Saudi authorities attach to human life and their willingness to continue to flout all the rules of international law.

Further executions planned after Ramadan

Since the beginning of 2019, Saudi Arabia has executed at least 104 people, including at least 44 foreigners, the majority of whom have been convicted of drug-related offences. In 2018, the Kingdom had carried out a total of 149 executions according to Amnesty International. However, the number of executions is likely to increase, according to several government sources. At least 20 people currently convicted of terrorism could be executed at the end of the month of Ramadan. These include Islamic moderators Sheikh Salman al-Odah and Awad al-Qarni and journalist Ali al-Omari, all accused of terrorism.

Indignation of the International Community

Faced with this distressing and worrying situation, many voices rose, as did the Director of the association Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM), who had described these executions as shame and cynicism. The Tunisian Coalition Against the Death Penalty also condemned these executions as unfair and violating the right to life. Human Rights Watch denounced the fact that "Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world and applies the death penalty to a wide range of offences that do not constitute the "most serious crimes", including drug-related offences. »
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in turn expressed her dismay by stating: "I strongly condemn these shocking mass executions (…) despite the concerns raised about these cases by many UN Special Rapporteurs, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and others", said High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet. In particular, she found "abhorrent" that at least three of the victims were minors at the time of their trial.
ESOHR also condemns the fact that "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has acted blatantly against the requests and recommendations previously made by Ben Emmerson, former Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. »

The European Union in turn reacted to this mass execution, notably through the voice of one of its spokespersons who stated that "this negative trend in executions in Saudi Arabia is in stark contrast to the growing abolitionist movement throughout the world". He also added that "these mass executions raise serious doubts about the respect for the right to a fair trial, which is a fundamental international minimum standard of justice," she said, expressing concern about the "risks" of religious tensions that these executions could provoke.

The World Coalition, which constantly calls on these States to put an end to the violation of the right to life,
– Expresses its anger and denounces the mass executions committed by Saudi Arabia,
– Calls on the international community to take action and put pressure on Saudi Arabia to stop the imposition and execution of the death penalty,
– Calls on all its member organizations to increase efforts and awareness to stop its mass executions,
– Expresses its solidarity with the families of the executed victims.

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