Saudi Arabia condemned for execution of 37 men after ‘sham trials’ – National


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The U.N. human rights chief on Wednesday condemned the beheadings of 37 Saudi nationals throughout the dominion this week, saying most have been minority Shi’ite Muslims who could not have had honest trials and a minimum of three have been minors when sentenced.

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Saudi Arabia, which mentioned on Tuesday it had carried out the executions over terrorism crimes, has come below rising world scrutiny over its human rights document because the homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi final 12 months on the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate and the detention of ladies’s rights activists.

“It’s significantly abhorrent that a minimum of three of these killed have been minors on the time of their sentencing,” U.N. Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet mentioned in an announcement issued in Geneva.

She mentioned United Nations rapporteurs had expressed concern a couple of lack of due course of and honest trial ensures amid allegations that confessions have been obtained by torture.

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Amnesty Worldwide mentioned late on Tuesday the vast majority of these executed in six cities belonged to the Shi’ite minority and have been convicted after “sham trials,” included a minimum of 14 individuals who had participated in anti-government protests within the kingdom’s oil-rich Japanese Province in 2011-2012.

It mentioned in an announcement that one among them, Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, was arrested when he was 16, making his execution a “flagrant violation of worldwide regulation.”

London-based Amnesty mentioned 11 of these executed had been convicted of spying for the dominion’s arch-adversary, Shi’ite Muslim Iran, and sentenced to demise in 2016.

The Shi’ite-majority Japanese Province turned a focus of unrest in early 2011 with demonstrations calling for an finish to discrimination and for reforms within the Sunni Muslim monarchy. Saudi Arabia denies any discrimination in opposition to Shi’ites.


The Saudi authorities’s press workplace didn’t instantly reply to Reuters’ request for touch upon Bachelet’s remarks or the Amnesty report. Authorities have mentioned the boys have been executed for “extremist terrorist ideologies,” forming “terrorist cells to deprave and disrupt safety” and inciting sectarian strife.

Bachelet known as on Riyadh to assessment counter-terrorism legal guidelines and halt pending executions, together with of three males on demise row – Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdulla al-Zaher – whose instances she mentioned had been taken up by the U.N. rights system.

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Amnesty mentioned the dominion has stepped up the speed of executions in 2019, with a minimum of 104 folks put to demise because the begin of the 12 months in comparison with 149 for the entire of 2018.

Tuesday’s mass execution was “one other grotesque indication of how the demise penalty is getting used as a political software to crush dissent from inside” the nation’s Shi’ite minority, mentioned Lynn Maalouf, the group’s analysis director for the Center East.

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European Union international coverage chief Federica Mogherini mentioned the executions heightened doubts about respect for the best to a good trial in Saudi Arabia and will gasoline sectarian violence.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) mentioned a minimum of 33 of the 37 males put to demise have been Shi’ites and it was the biggest set of executions within the kingdom since January 2016.

It mentioned one of many males convicted of protest-related offenses, Mujtaba al-Sweikat, was arrested in 2012 as he was about to board a aircraft certain for the US to attend college.

“Mass executions usually are not the mark of a ‘reformist’ authorities, however fairly one marked by capricious, autocratic rule,” HRW’s Center East director Michael Web page mentioned.

— Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels with further reporting and writing by Sylvia Westall; Modifying by Mark Heinrich

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