Saudi Arabia carries out 800th execution under King Salman

Saudi Arabia carries out 800th execution under King Salman

Saudi Arabia has carried out its 800th execution since the reign of King Salman bin Abdulaziz began five years ago.

Human rights group Reprieve said the rate of executions has doubled under King Salman’s rule, despite Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman insisting the kingdom intends to “minimise” the number.

There were 423 executions in Saudi Arabia from 2009-14 and almost twice as many since King Salman took power on 23 January 2015.

Last year, Saudi Arabia executed 185 people, the most in a calendar year since Reprieve and the European-Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) began tracking executions in the kingdom.

In one mass execution of 37 people, on 23 April 2019, six young men who were children at the time of their alleged offences were killed.

At least 13 other juvenile defendants remain on death row, including Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher, who are at imminent risk of execution.

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, said: “For all the rhetoric of reform and modernisation, Saudi Arabia is still a country where speaking out against the King can get you killed.

“In the run-up to the G20 summit in Riyadh in November, the kingdom’s western partners must demand an end to the execution of children and political opponents, otherwise they risk tacitly endorsing these flagrant violations of international law.”

Ali al-Dubisi, director of ESOHR, said: “The high implementation of death sentences, despite assurances from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, exposes the falsehood of these promises.

“The targeting of prisoners of conscience and children confirms the retaliatory and political use executions, and raises additional concerns for detained individuals still facing punishment.”

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