Shocking news of a beheading spree in Saudi Arabia. Allegations of a crucifixion
It has been widely reported that Saudi Arabia executed 37 individuals on Tuesday 23 April 2019 in what was the biggest mass execution since 2016. The executions have been widely condemned around the world and mark an alarming increase in the use of the death penalty by the regime. Any hope that the rise to power of Mohammad bin Salman (pictured) marked a more liberal regime seem well and truly to be finished.
The UK government is usually quite reticent in these matters claiming to make its views known behind the scenes. However, in this instance, diplomatic language seems to be set to one side following an urgent statement in the House of Commons:
The Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan, answering an urgent question in the Commons, spurned the usual diplomatic niceties, saying the mass executions were “a deeply backward step which we deplore”. He added it was “deplorable and totally unacceptable” that at least one of those executed had been a minor at the time of the arrest.
He highlighted reports that one of those executed was displayed on a cross, saying that anyone in the House, just two days after Easter, would find “more repulsive than anything we could picture. Parliament site [accessed 24 April 2019]
In response, Sir Vince Cable said:
We are in urgent need of a reappraisal of our relationship with Saudi Arabia given that the continued medieval barbarism of the regime does not constitute the basis for a friendly alliance, and indeed makes it an enemy of our values and our human rights. Ibid
The executions follow sham trials and according to Amnesty International, involve confessions achieved through the use of torture. The families of those executed were not told of the executions in advance. It has been reported that one head was displayed on a pole and that one man was crucified.
One individual, Abdulkareem al-Hawaj was arrested at the age of 16 and the execution of people under the age of 18 at the time of their arrest is against international law.
So far this year, Saudi has executed 104 people and if the current rate continues, will exceed last year’s total of 149 for the whole year.
Saudi Arabia is a major customer for our arms industry and our weapons are among those being used in the devastating war currently being waged in Yemen
Sources: Parliament site; CNN; Guardian