02/01/2023, 18.48
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Executions doubled under 'reformist' bin Salman

The latest report by Reprieve and the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights found that an average of 70.8 executions were carried out per year between 2010 and 2014 compared to 129.5 between 2015 and 2022 after Saudi crown prince came to power. Torture is "endemic" in prison, even for minors.

Riyadh (AsiaNews) – Since Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) rose to power, promoting his much-celebrated "reformist”, liberal and modern vision of the Wahhabi kingdom, executions have almost doubled in his country, this according to a recent report by Reprieve, an anti-death penalty advocacy group.

Saudi Arabia's allies have failed to influence its leaders to limit the death penalty. Since 2015, the number of executions has doubled, with more than a thousand people executed in seven years, a trend that was visible as soon as MbS emerged as the kingdom’s most powerful leader after King Salman.

According to Reprieve and the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR), Saudi Arabia carried out an average of 70.8 executions per year between 2010 to 2014.

Starting in 2015, when the crown prince became the de facto ruler, until 2022, an average of 129.5 executions were performed per year, a 82 per cent increase over the previous period.

The study also notes that the kingdom has imposed a thick wall of secrecy around trials and the extensive use of the death penalty, including a case involving 81 people executed en masse in a single day (12 March 2022).

The latter was the third case of mass executions under MbS; however, ESOHR could only document 12 death sentences. "The remaining 69 men were tried, convicted, sentenced, and executed in complete secrecy,” the advocacy group said in a statement

Both Reprieve and ESOHR note that at least 15 people who were executed were underage at the time of their offence, as many as 11 after Mohammed bin Salman came to power.

The joint report also shows how Saudi authorities have “disproportionately” used the death penalty against non-Saudis; in fact, about 75 per cent of the women executed between 2010 and 2021 were foreigners, about 56 per cent domestic workers employed by wealthy Saudis.

The study shows that the death penalty is routinely used to silence dissidents and protesters in violation of international law whereby the death penalty, however execrable, is admissible only for the most heinous crimes.

Lastly, torture is also “endemic in Saudi prisons, even for child defendants.

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