Saudi Arabia’s false promise on the use of the death penalty
With 149 executions in 2018, one of the highest rates since the 1990’s, the Saudi Kingdom seems to be locking itself into a violent authoritarian drift, according to the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights’ 2018 report. Figures on hand, the organization warns of “one of the darkest periods of repression” that may be unfolding in Saudi Arabia, where the use of the death penalty is mainly due to political and arbitrary decisions. The Kingdom’s reluctance to communicate the exact number of executions could reveal an even more critical situation.
Saudi Arabia recently widened the scope of the capital punishment despite the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s statement in April 2018 who promised penal reforms limiting the use of the death penalty. Moreover, the death penalty often follows the use of torture during interrogation or unfair trials during which lawyers for the defendant are not always present – violating more rules in international law. According to the report, the death penalty is above all a valuable political instrument for the Kingdom, increasingly used against women, human rights activists or certain religious, effectively equating their activism with terrorism.