Mohammed bin Salman Broke Promises to Western Media to Reduce Death Sentences
2019-05-15 - 12:20 am
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Speaking to Time magazine a year ago, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman promised to reduce the death sentences to the minimum. What do numbers say one year later?
Saudi Arabia has increased the number of executed death sentences since the beginning of 2019 until April 23, 2019, when the authorities executed 37 prisoners, to 107 executions, including minors, women, protestors, activists and a person with a disability as well as individuals of different backgrounds.
These numbers show that the executed sentences have been doubled compared to the same period in previous years. Saudi Arabia implemented 48 death sentences in the same period in 2018, 33 in 2017, 86 in 2016, and 68 in 2015.
The numbers show the extent of the growing violence and brutality imposed by the Saudi authorities in the era of Salman bin Abdulaziz and his son against their citizens when they dare demand their legitimate rights through peaceful means such as protesting or expressing their views on social media sites.
According to the European Saudi Human Rights organization that has followed up many trials in Saudi Arabia in general, and in particular the trials of some of the victims of executions carried out on April 23, 2019, it confirms that the judicial system in Saudi Arabia is far from the conditions and principles of fair trials.
Numerous international calls have been made for the Saudi government to re-hold trials, as a result of the huge flaws in these trials and lack of independence of the judiciary.
In addition, the majority of the 37 people executed were not convicted of major serious crimes, and some were even convicted for exercising legitimate rights, which makes nearly 70% of the death sentences carried out since the beginning of 2019 in violation of international law prohibiting the execution of death sentences on the basis of crimes that are not the most serious.
41 of the death penalties were carried out on drug-related charges. Also, since the beginning of 2019, those sentenced to death had different nationalities, with 44% foreigners.
The doubling and increase of executions coincided with the passage of a year since Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman promised in April 2018 to minimize death sentences, during an interview with Time magazine in which he said: "We've tried to minimize that [death sentences]. But there are few areas that we can change it from execution to life in prison. So we are working through the government and also the Saudi parliament to build new laws in that area. And we believe it will take one year, maybe a little bit more, to have it finished. But we will not get it 100 percent, but reduce it big time."
At least three children still face death sentences in Saudi Arabia, Ali Al-Nimr, Daoud Al-Marhoon and Abdullah Al-Zaher, who might be beheaded at any moment. The Public Prosecution continues to demand the execution of human rights defenders and activists, such as the case of human rights defender Israa Al-Ghmaagam, and her husband, Musa Al-Hachem, Ahmed Al-Matroud, Ali Al-Uwaysher, Khalid Al-Ghanim, Sheikh Salman Al-Awda, researcher Hasan Farhan Al-Maliki, Sheikh Awad Al-Qarni and Dr. Ali Al-Omari. The organization believes that they may face a similar fate, as the Saudi government insists on carrying out death sentences on charges that do not even deserve imprisonment let alone execution, made in unfair trials and based on confessions extracted under torture, despite UN condemnation and international calls.
All of this requires immediate international measures to ensure the immediate abolition of death sentences, but not a single Western country was quick to speak out about the massacre committed by the Saudi authorities.
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