Riyadh, executions double in in the reformist era of Mohammed bin Salman

133 people were executed between June 2017 and March 2018. Almost twice as many as the 67 recorded in the eight months that preceded the rise to power of Mbs. Saudi Arabia among the top five countries in the world for death sentences. Executions for crimes related to drug trafficking are increasing.


Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Between June 2017 and March 2018, the number of executions in Saudi Arabia reached 133, almost twice as many as the 67 recorded in the eight months prior to the rise of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Furthermore, almost half of the people who were in the executioner's hands this year were of foreign nationality, most of them poor migrants condemned to death for drug trafficking.

The Saudi number two, at the center of the controversy over the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey and the bloody war in Yemen, with civilian casualties including children, seems to prefer an iron fist on the home front as well. According to a report by the British Reprieve, in the first eight months in power Mbs doubled the number of executions.

From 2014 the executioner has struck at least 700 times; this year there was an average of about 13 executions per month, peaking in July when the number of people executed were 27 and seven of them in a single day. Saudi Arabia is thus confirmed as one of the top five countries in the world by number of death sentences.

Activists and experts also recall that, on the rise to power, the young Mbs had declared that he wanted to remove the death penalty for crimes related to drug trafficking. "We have to reduce executions" the crown prince had affirmed at the time, adding that "if a person kills another person, we must execute them according to our law. But there are some areas in which we can move from death sentence to life imprisonment. "

In spite of the proclamations, in recent months the hangman has hit the drug traffickers as never before. "In addition, at least 30 people - declares the director of Reprive Maya Foa - among whom there are also minors, risk execution for having exercised their civil rights".

Moreover, in the kingdom there is an absolute Sunni monarchy, governed by a Wahhabi and fundamentalist view of Islam that does not admit any other worship except of Muhammad.

Recently in the country there have emerged reports of arrests of activists and torture in prison, once again illustrating that the program of "reforms" wanted by the 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and so much flagged by local media in the context of the Vision 2030 program is illusory and fake.

Some reforms have affected women’s rights in the social sphere. However, the arrests of senior officials and entrepreneurs, the repression of activists and dissenters, the war in Yemen with civilian victims, even children, and the assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi cast more than a shadow on Mbs .

The Saudi kingdom is among the nations in the world with the highest rate of executions; the death penalty, often through decapitation in public places, is imposed for crimes ranging from terrorism to rape, from armed robbery to drug trafficking.

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