Is Saudi Arabia Beheading 37 People Part of its '2030 Vision'?

Published April 24th, 2019 - 12:47 GMT

Heated debates have arisen after Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday beheading 37 people on terrorism-related convictions in the largest-scale execution carried out in Saudi Arabia for the past three years.

The state-run news agency, Saudi Press Agency, released the news on Tuesday and tweeted that the executed men are a number of criminals who adopted extremist ideology and formed terrorist cells to disrupt the security.

Translation: "The death penalty was implemented on a number of criminals for adopting extremist ideologies and forming terrorist cells to corrupt and disrupt security and spread chaos. They are all Saudis”.

Later, authorities released a statement with the names of the 37 Saudis who were executed in different cities around the Kingdom. A Saudi professor who was the head of the English Language department in Jeddah University was identified among the killed.

The brutal details of the execution; including crucifying one of the 37 and putting his body on display for the public has outraged human rights organizations and opposition activists, in addition to the fact that some of the executed were minors when arrested and 34 of them were from the Shi’ite minority.

Unconfirmed pictures were shared on social media for what was reported as the executions in a similar scene to what ISIS used to publish when they carry on random beheadings claiming it is part of the “Sharia Law”.

Translation: “Disappointment in Jeddah and Taif as  the Saudi authorities executed Sheikh Mohammed Al-Attiyah, head of the English language department at the University of Jeddah .. This is only because he criticized the government during one of his English-language lectures and demanded the equal distribution of wealth in the country and to allow every Saudi to volunteer in the armed forces.”

Among the killed were also two young men identified as Abdulkarim Alhawaj and Mutjaba al-Sweikat. Both were arrested and convicted while minors.

Saudi Arabia is ruled by its de-facto power, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, has been internationally criticized and condemned over human rights violations and crackdowns carried out against Saudis, particularly women's rights activists. In addition to Saudi Arabia’s lead of coalition in Yemen.

MBS who was known when first appointed as a “reformist” and the “2030 Vision” through which he promised more achievements toward a more open Kingdom, starting from allowing women to drive to allowing musical concerts and events.

Yet, the beheadings and many other violations of human rights are drawing a more clear picture of the kind of reforms MBS is trying to deceive the world with.

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