Saudi court sentences 4 political prisoners to death in fresh crackdown
Saudi Arabian authorities have sentenced four more anti-regime activists to death in a fresh crackdown by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against political opponents in the kingdom.
The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in the Arabian Peninsula (CDHRAP) announced in a statement on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia’s so-called specialized criminal court handed death sentences to Mohammed Ali al-Shaqaq, Mansour Samir al-Hayyek, Mazrouq Mohammad Zaif Fazl Al Fazl and Raad Mohammad Zaif Fazl Al Fazl.
The rights group added that the same court also sentenced another dissident, identified as Ali Razi Mansour al-Hayyeki to 27 years in prison.
The annual rate of executions in Saudi Arabia since King Salman and his son Mohammed bin Salman came to power in 2015 has almost doubled, according to a new report, which highlighted flagrant human rights violations in the Arab country.
According to the report, carried out by Reprieve and the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) and published on January 31, at least 1,243 people were executed between 2010 and 2021, and the figure stood at 147 last year.
The report revealed that the six bloodiest years of executions in Saudi Arabia’s recent history (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022) have all occurred under the leadership of Mohammed bin Salman, as the country’s crown prince and de facto ruler, and his father.
It highlighted the fact that there was an average of 129.5 executions per year within the time span of 2015-2022, marking an increase of 82%.
Reprieve’s 2023 report, titled “Bloodshed and Lies: Mohammed bin Salman’s Kingdom of Executions,” shows that between 2010 and 2021, those found guilty of murder, drug trafficking, sexual offenses, formation of or membership with an organized criminal group, abduction or false imprisonment accompanied by assault, burglary or robbery, sedition, treason and other state security offences, as well as witchcraft and sorcery were sentenced to death penalty.
It further notes that 2022 was one of the bloodiest years on record in Saudi Arabia’s recent history as 81 people were put to death in one day on March 12.
Saudi Arabia executed nearly three times more foreign nationals for drug offences than it did Saudi nationals.
Between 2010-2021, 31 women were also executed. Almost three-quarters of those killed were foreign nationals, and of those foreign nationals, at least 56 percent were domestic workers.
The human rights organization stated that bin Salman and his cabinet are trying to distract the world from his human rights abuses by means of sport-swashing, and are buying sports clubs like Newcastle United, and creating series and tournaments like the LIV Golf Tour for that purpose.