Amnesty International condemns ‘execution spree’, which in recent months has seen as many as five people executed a week
The execution of a man convicted of murder has taken the number of people Saudi Arabia executed in the conservative Kingdom so far this year to 100, the Saudi state news agency has said.
The unnamed individual had his sentence upheld by an appeals court in a case involving the murder of another man, official news agency SPA said, without giving details.
The Independent’s requests for comment from Saudi government representatives were not immediately answered.
Amnesty International condemned the news, alleging that up to 40 per cent of executions in recent months had been for drug-related charges, which should not be punishable by death. Amnesty remains committed to the abolition of the death penalty under all circumstances.
“Since July, the Saudi Arabian government has been on an execution spree with an average of five people put to death per week”, said Lynn Maalouf, the organisation’s Middle East Research Director.
“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,” she continued.
“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.”
International human rights watchdogs have consistently condemned Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
The Kingdom, which is governed by a very strict interpretation of Islamic law and ruled over by an absolute monarchy, has one of the highest death penalty rates in the world.
The sentence is handed down for murder, rape, terrorism, armed robbery, drug trafficking and sometimes apostasy charges.
The death penalty is often declared after flawed court trials and court proceedings which do not adhere to international standards, including confessions obtained by torture, rights organisations allege.
In 2016 Riyadh said a total of 153 people were executed, a figure verified by Amnesty International. At least 33 are currently on death row, and 2,000 people have faced the death penalty since 1985.