Amnesty condemns rise of executions in Saudi
Amnesty said 175 people had been executed in less than a year. (AFP/File)
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Amnesty International has censured a dramatic rise in the number of executions in Saudi Arabia, saying the Riyadh regime executed 175 people – an average of one person every two days – in less than a year.
On Tuesday, the London-based rights group released a report dubbed “Killing In the Name of Justice: The Death Penalty in Saudi Arabia,” saying 175 executions were carried out in the kingdom between August 2014 and June 2015.
The 43-page report also said 102 people were executed in the first six months of this year, compared to a total of 83 executions in the entire 2014.
The Saudis executed a total of 26 people last August in a sudden rise in executions, a trend which Amnesty says has continued to grow in the kingdom.
“Saudi Arabia’s faulty justice system facilitates judicial executions on a mass scale,” said Amnesty’s acting director of the Middle East and North African program, Said Boumedouha.
Amnesty also said that a total of 2,208 people were executed in Saudi Arabia between January 1985 and June 2015.
About 1,072 of those sentenced to death during the last 30 years – about 48.5 percent – were foreigners, whose nationalities “and the fact that they often lack Arabic language skills place them in a particularly disadvantageous position” during trials.
Amnesty said Saudi authorities have denied its researchers access to the country, and the report relies mostly on accounts gained by contacting people before their execution, their relatives or lawyers, as well as reviewing available court documents.
The rights group contacted the Saudi Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Justice on July 28, 2015 to express its concerns regarding the death penalty in the country but did not receive a reply.
Under the Saudi law, apostasy, armed robbery, drug trafficking, rape and murder are punishable by the death penalty, which is mostly carried out by beheading.
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