Saudi Arabia Executes 800 Persons In Five Years

Saudi Arabia has doubled its use of the death penalty since King Salman bin Abdulaziz came to power five years ago, according to human rights organisation, Reprieve. 

At least 800 people have been executed in the kingdom since Salman ascended the throne in January 23, 2015, following the death of King Abdullah, Daily Mail UK, reports. 

The most recent execution was that of Abdulmohsin Humood Abdullah al-Ghamdi, who was beheaded on Tuesday for murder, a report by Reprieve said. 

From 2009-14, there were 423 executions in Saudi Arabia – that figure has doubled in just over five years under King Salman. 

In 2019, Saudi Arabia executed 186 people, 37 of whom were killed in one mass execution on April 23.  

Six of them were men who were juveniles at the time of their alleged offenses. 

Two of those killed were teenagers Abdulkareem al-Hawaj and Mujtaba al-Sweikat, who were just 16 and 17 at the time of their arrests. 

Al-Hawaj was arrested for attending an anti-government protest when he was 16 and was convicted of being a ‘terrorist’.

Al-Sweikat was also arrested for attending an anti-government protest and was tortured into confessing to ‘crimes against the state’, according to human rights charities.

The report claimed that al-Sweikat was held in pre-trial detention without charge for three years, and was subjected to torture by al-Mabahith officers including beatings, foot whipping, and cigarette burns.

At least 58 of those killed in 2019 were foreign nationals that were accused of spreading Shia Islam, which is a crime in Saudi Arabia. 

Others were killed last year for participating in or inciting political demonstrations. 

According to Reprieve, which advocates against the death penalty across the globe, the rise in executions is partly due to the number of people accused of politically motivated crimes under King Salman. 

13 juvenile defendants remain on death row in the Kingdom and Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher are at imminent risk of execution, according to Reprieve.  

Director of Reprieve, Maya Foa, said, “For all the rhetoric of reform and modernisation, Saudi Arabia is still a country where speaking out against the King can get you killed.

“In the run-up to the G20 summit in Riyadh in November, the Kingdom’s Western partners must demand an end to the execution of children and political opponents, otherwise they risk tacitly endorsing these flagrant violations of international law.”

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