A further 15 men face imminent execution in Saudi Arabia
Only a few days ago, we highlighted the case of fourteen men who face imminent execution. Today we publish a further urgent action as Saudi is about to execute another 15 individuals. The families of the accused have just discovered that the higher court has upheld the lower court’s ruling without the prisoners themselves or their lawyers knowing about it.
They were accused of high treason together with other unrecognisable offences including ‘supporting protests’ and ‘spreading the Shi’a faith.’ They were held incommunicado for nearly three months and denied access to lawyers. Their families were threatened with arrest if they did not sign confessions.
The system in Saudi is contrary to all international norms and shows no sign of improvement. Yet despite this we continue to supply the country with arms on a huge scale.
The Foreign and Colonial Office has just published its 2o16 report on human rights and on Saudi it says the following (extract)
… We also remain deeply concerned about the application of the death penalty. Amnesty International reported that 153 people had been executed in 2016, compared to 158 people in 2015. This included the simultaneous execution of 47 people on 2 January 2016. On 5 January, the then FCO Minister for the Middle East and Africa, Tobias Ellwood, made a statement to Parliament reiterating our clear position on the death penalty. As the principle of the death penalty is enshrined in Saudi Arabia’s Sharia law, total abolition in the near future is unlikely. We continued to ensure that the Saudi authorities are aware of our strong opposition to the death penalty at the most senior levels.
… In 2017, we will continue to work to limit the application of the death penalty; and to ensure that, if it is applied, it is carried out in line with international minimum standards. We will continue to monitor closely cases which relate to freedom of expression and of religion or belief. We will also look for opportunities to promote greater participation by civil society and by women in Saudi public life. (p 49)
Fine words but somewhat undermined by continuing high level contact, visits by members of the Royal Family and government ministers keen to promote the continued sale of weapons.
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