Riyadh, October 3: Saudi Arabia is amongst those countries where execution or death penalty rate always remains high. Notably, Saudi Arabia has so far executed a total of 100 people who were found guilty in criminal cases. 40 percent of the executions carried out so far this year were related to drug-related offences.
According to the Amnesty International, the Saudi Arabian authorities on Monday executed a man, bringing the total number of people put to death so far in 2017 to 100, with 60 people executed in the past three months alone. At least 33 members of Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a Muslim community currently face the death penalty. All were accused of activities deemed a risk to national security.
Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for Amnesty International in the Middle-East said “Since July 2017, the Saudi Arabian government has been on an execution spree with an average of five people put to death per week. This sets the country firmly on track to remain one of the most prolific executioners on the planet.”
“If the Saudi authorities are truly intent on making reforms, they must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty completely,” Lynn Maalouf added.
“The Saudi authorities have been using the death penalty as a tool to crush dissent and rein in minorities with callous disregard for human life. They should immediately quash these sentences and ensure that all trials meet international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty” said Lynn Maalouf.
Amnesty International also said that 40% of the executions carried out so far this year were related to drug-related offences, which do not fall into the category of "most serious crimes". “The use of the death penalty for such offences violates international human rights law,” Amnesty added.
However, many people in Saudi Arabia sentenced to death and executed are charged guilty following seriously flawed court proceedings that routinely fall far short of international fair trial standards. They are often convicted solely on the basis of “confessions” obtained under torture and other ill-treatment, denied legal representation in trials which are held in secret and are not kept informed of the progress of the legal proceedings in their case.
Interestingly, Saudi Arabia uses the death penalty for a wide range of offences that are not accepted as the “most serious crimes” under international human rights law, which are limited to crimes involving intentional killings. Saudi Arabia is one of the top executioners in the world, with more than 2,000 people executed between 1985 and 2016.