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HRW: Saudi's Execution of 81 Men is Brutal Show of its Autocratic Rule and Justice System

2022-03-17 - 8:24 p

Bahrain Mirror: Human Rights Watch condemned on Tuesday (March 15, 2022) what it deemed  rampant and systemic abuses in Saudi Arabia's criminal justice system after the recent mass execution of 81 individuals, suggesting that it is highly unlikely that any of the men received a fair trial.

Saudi Arabia announced that these individuals were convicted of a wide range of offences, including "terrorism", and that they belong to terrorist organizations, such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the Houthis. These persons were arrested, tried in Saudi courts, in services supervised by a total of 13 judges in 3 separate stages of trial for each individual.

However, Human Rights Watch doubted this. "Rampant and systemic abuses in Saudi Arabia's criminal justice system suggest it is highly unlikely that any of the men received a fair trial," it said.

"Saudi Arabia's mass execution of 81 men this weekend was a brutal show of its autocratic rule, and a justice system that puts the fairness of their trials and sentencing into serious doubt," said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

"The shocking callousness of their treatment is compounded by the fact that many families found out about their loved ones' deaths just like the rest of us, after the fact and through the media."

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned "the mass execution" carried out on Saturday against 81 convicts in Saudi Arabia. 

The UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said "Among those put to death on 12 March, there were 41 Muslims from the Shiite minority who had taken part in anti-government protests in 2011-12, calling for greater political participation, 7 Yemenis and a Syrian."

Human Rights Watch obtained and analyzed court rulings for five of the 41 Shia men, indicating that all of their trials were marred with due process violations, including that in every case they had told the court that they suffered torture and ill-treatment during interrogations, and that their confessions were forcibly extracted.

Many of the family members said they had not been notified of the executions in advance or offered a chance to say their goodbyes.

A member said that he found out about the executions through the local media. "We have no idea how and what time they were killed, how and where they were buried," he said. "I keep wondering, what were my brother's last words? Was he buried according to Shia burial rites? Did they pray over his body?"

Arabic Version