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2019 Saudi Arabia mass execution
On 23 April 2019, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia carried out a mass execution of 37 imprisoned civilians who had been convicted, 21 on the basis of confessions allegedly obtained under coercion and torture,[1][2] for terrorism-related allegations in six provinces in the country.[3][4][5][6] Fourteen of the people executed had been convicted in relation to their participation in the 2011–12 Saudi Arabian protests in Qatif, mostly on the basis of torture-induced confessions.[2][7] The executions were carried out by beheading,[4][8] and two of the bodies were left on public display.[9][4] According to Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry the convicts were all Saudi nationals.[5] Thirty-two of those executed belonged to the country's Shia minority.[10][4]
Background
Main articles: Qatif conflict and 2017–19 Qatif unrest
Conflict between Saudi authorities and Qatif residents dates back to at least the 1979 Qatif Uprising. The conflict reemerged between Saudi authorities and political protestors during the 2011–12 Saudi Arabian protests and continued through to the 2017–19 Qatif unrest. The conflict involves peaceful protestors as well as armed confrontations between residents and Saudi authorities, siege barricades erected by the authorities in Awamiyah and attempted destruction of residential areas by the authorities.[11] The "Qatif 24 case" was a Saudi legal case concerning 24 Qatif region protestors. Fourteen of the people executed on 23 April 2019 were among the "Qatif 24", including Mujtaba al-Sweikat and Munir al-Adam.[7] Human Rights Watch stated that the most of convictions were based on confessions obtained under torture.[7]
Another eleven of the people executed had been convicted in the "Iran spy case".[7]
Both the 14 of the Qatif 24 case and 11 in the Iran spy case had been convicted by the Specialized Criminal Court,[7] which conducts trials for alleged terrorists and human rights activists.[12][13][14][15]
The European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) followed the cases of many of the detainees prior to their execution. Among these, none of the detainees were allowed access to lawyers during the arrest and investigation stages of their cases, and 21 of them had their confessions extracted under duress and torture.[1]
Both ESOHR and CNN obtained access to many of the court records.[1][2] CNN stated that it had "hundreds of pages of documents from three 2016 trials involving 25" of the executees. CNN described the "Qatif 24 case" as involving charges related to the 2011–12 Saudi Arabian protests of the Arab Spring. It said that the fourteen executees among the "Qatif 24" were all charged with "joining a terror cell" and all denied the charge.[2] Nader al-Sweikat, father of executee Mujtaba al-Sweikat of the "Qatif 24", stated that "only few of the 24 men committed real crimes".[2] Both ESOHR and CNN concluded that the prosecution's cases were mostly based on false confessions.[1][2]
Executions
On 23 April 2019, Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry stated that Saudi men had been executed that day for the "terrorism related crimes" of "adopting terrorist and extremist thinking and [of] forming terrorist cells to corrupt and destabilize security".[5][9] Thirty two of those executed belonged to the country's Shia minority.[10] The executions, which were carried out by beheading,[4][8] were conducted in the capital Riyadh, the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the central province of Al-Qassim, Shia-populated Eastern Province and the southern province of Asir.[5][10] The bodies of two of the executed men were publicly displayed on a pole for several hours as a warning to others.[4][9] This was described by the Daily Times as "[sparking] controversy because of its grisly display".[9] According to Amnesty International, many of the families of Shia Muslims executed in the mass execution had not been informed in advance[16] and were shocked to learn of the news.[9] Among the executions was that of a young man who was convicted of a crime that took place while he was under the age of 18, Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, a young Shi'a man who was arrested at the age of 16 and convicted of offences related to his involvement in anti-government protests.[5][9][16] According to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, "at least three of those killed were minors at the time of their sentencing", in violation of international law that prohibits the use of the death penalty against anyone under the age of 18.[17]
Executees
One of the executees, Hussein al-Humaidy, was severely pressured prior to his sentencing and execution. Al-Humaidy confirmed to the judge, as officially recorded, that "severe psychological and physical pressure" was used during interrogations.[1] Nine among the executees who provided forced confessions and/or were tortured included the following:[1][2]
Mujtaba al-Sweikat was a minor at the time of his arrest on 12 August 2012, while trying to fly to the United States to study at Western Michigan University.[7] During his investigation, al-Sweikat was hung by his hands, beaten with wires and hoses, stubbed with cigarettes, slapped and beaten with shoes, and left with insufficient heating during the winter. He was given a choice between signing a false confession or returning to the investigation; he chose to sign the false confession to avoid further torture.[1] According to al-Sweikat's father, who defended him in court, the case against Mujtaba was intended to "create the illusion of a terror cell", which in reality did not exist.[2] Al-Sweikat's father said that his son participated in the Qatif demonstrations only twice, and for only five minutes each time.[2]
Reactions
See also
References
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Saudi Arabia is carrying out a second oppressive mass slaughter in the era of King Salman, including children, protestors, and activists". European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights. 24 April 2019. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019. According to the ESOHR’s documentation, at least 21 people executed by Saudi Arabia today said in court that their statements were extracted under duress and torture, ...
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Qiblawi, Tamara; Balkiz, Ghazi (26 April 2019). "Exclusive: Saudi Arabia said they confessed. But court filings show some executed men protested their innocence". CNN. Archived from the original on 26 April 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  3. ^ Ben Hubbard (23 April 2019). "Saudi Arabia Executes 37 in One Day for Terrorism". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Richard Hall (23 April 2019). "Saudi Arabia carries out 'chilling' mass execution of 37 people for 'terrorism offences'". The Independent. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Mass execution is Saudis tool to crush Shia minority: Amnesty". Press TV. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Saudi Arabia executes 37 people on terrorism-related charges". Al Jazeera. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Saudi Arabia: Mass Execution of 37 Men — Most from Shia Community, Convicted in Unfair Trials". Human Rights Watch. 24 April 2019. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019. The court convicted nearly all [of the Qatif24] defendants based on confessions they later repudiated in court, saying the authorities had tortured them.
  8. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia executes 37 citizens over alleged terrorism offences". The Guardian. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Saudi Arabia's callous disregard for fundamental human rights of its citizens". Daily Times (Pakistan). 24 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Saudi executions: Dozens killed included some arrested as juveniles". Middle East Eye. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  11. ^ McKernan, Bethan (4 August 2017). "Inside the Saudi town that's been under siege for three months by its own government". The Independent. Archived from the original on 5 July 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  12. ^ "World Report 2012: Saudi Arabia". Human Rights Watch. 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  13. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Renewed Protests Defy Ban". Human Rights Watch. 30 December 2011. Archived from the original on 4 January 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  14. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Trial of Riyadh protester 'utterly unwarranted'". Amnesty International. 22 February 2012. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  15. ^ "Reform activists in Saudi Arabia must receive fair appeal hearings". Amnesty International. 25 January 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  16. ^ a b c Rory Jones (23 April 2019). "Saudi Arabia Executes 37 Citizens, Drawing Fire from Rights Groups". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  17. ^ "U.N. 'strongly condemns' Saudi Arabia's beheading of 37 people in mass executions". United Press International. 24 April 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Saudi regime executed 37 people: Here is who they were". Shiite News Network. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  19. ^ Elizabeth Zwirz (23 April 2019). "Saudi Arabia executes 37 people on terrorism allegations: report". Fox News. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Growing Concerns Over Saudi Arabia's Rights Abuses". Voice of America. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  21. ^ "Iran blasts Trump's administration for staying silent on new Saudi mass execution". Press TV. 24 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
Last edited on 9 May 2021, at 01:00
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