Saudi Arabia has doubled its use of the death penalty since King Salman bin Abdulaziz came to the throne five years ago, despite Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman saying that the Kingdom intends to “minimise” the number of executions.
A total of 800 people have been executed in the kingdom since King Salman ascended to the throne in January 23, 2015, following the death of King Abdullah. Compared to the period from 2009-2014, there were only 423 executions in Saudi Arabia, human rights group Reprieve said.
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.
Last year, Saudi Arabia is thought to have executed 185 people, including 37 in a mass execution in April. This is the highest annual number of deaths since Reprieve and the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) started to monitor executions in the country.
Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, 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.”
She urged the Kingdom’s western partners to call for an end to the “execution of children and political opponents” before the G20 summit in Riyadh in November.
MsFoa added that if they failed to do so, these countries would risk tacitly endorsing Saudi Arabia’s actions.
Reprieve alleges that six young men, who had been children at the time of their alleged offences, were among those killed in last year’s mass execution.
At least 13 juvenile defendants are thought to currently be on death row in the Kingdom, including Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher.
Ali al-Dubisi, director of ESOHR, said: “The high implementation of death sentences, despite assurances from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, exposes the falsehood of these promises.” (Source: Independent UK)