A man, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was convicted when he was 17 is to face death by crucifixion after his appeal was turned down. The appeal was heard in secret and he was not present. He was accused of participating in illegal protests and of firearms offences. As is usual in Saudi, he was denied access to a lawyer and is likely to have been tortured and forced to sign a confession. See International Business Times for the full story.
Amnesty believes that Saudi has one of the highest rates of executions in the world and is exceeded only by China (details of which are a state secret) and Iran.
We are engaged in correspondence with our local MP John Glen about the government’s policy towards the kingdom and we were initially assured both by Mr Glen and a FCO minister Mr Tobias Ellwood, that the abolition of the death penalty was an important policy for the government. These matters were raised at the highest level with the Saudis we were told. Within days of these assurances, it was announced that the abolition of the death penalty was no longer an explicit policy of the government. We have written to Mr Glen on this and a reminder was sent this week. A reply is awaited …
See our death penalty report.