The human rights organization recorded the execution of 844 people by the Saudi regime, the highest percentage of these executions in 2019, an average of 130 executions, and indicated that the execution cases varied: 430 reinforcement executions, 310 retribution executions, 104 death sentences.
A human rights report sheds light on the death penalty in the kingdom, whose sentences are increasing against political detainees and minors; For retaliatory and arbitrary purposes, the report expressed fears that death sentences would be carried out during the year 2021 in a way that exceeded the previous year of the year 2020, which was interspersed with the Corona pandemic.
A human rights report issued by the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights indicated that the Saudi regime exploited the low toll of 2020 to whiten its image globally, but the change in numbers did not stop the nature of the Saudi regime’s treatment of the death penalty as a repressive, retaliatory and arbitrary tool.
2020 The number of executions has exceeded 800 since King Salman took office in 2015. These sentences contain flagrant and grave violations of international law.
The European organization said: The position of the regime with the file of executions is still confused and includes ambiguous positions. The decisions that were officially celebrated, especially with regard to changes in the execution of minors, its final face is not yet clear, in light of the lack of publication of the royal order and the failure to announce the laws officially from the competent authorities, In addition to continuing uncertainty regarding the numbers of individuals at risk of execution.
During 2020, the Saudi regime said it executed 27 people. The figure is a decrease of 85% of executions from 2019, which represents the largest decrease in executions since the European-Saudi Organization for Human Rights began monitoring executions in 2013, although there are still important aspects of concern.
The European Saudi Organization monitored 25 cases of these executions, including two women. They were distributed among different nationalities, as 16 Saudis, 3 Syrians, 2 Yemenis, 2 Jordanians, one Egyptian and one Iraqi were executed. 19 of them faced charges related to murder, while five of them faced charges that are not considered among the most serious crimes related to drugs and contraband.
One person was charged with armed robbery. Among them, according to the organization’s monitoring, is the minor Abdul Mohsen Al-Ghamdi.
Refutation of the figures shows the continued use of punishment against the most vulnerable individuals, such as minors, women and foreign workers, despite the lack of fair trials.
In an unusual move by the Saudi Human Rights Commission, which has neglected to comment on the escalation of executions in the country in the past years, it published in January 2021 a statement, in which it said that the death sentences during the year 2020 amounted to 27 executions. Two cases more than the statistics of human rights organizations of executions carried out in 2020, based on what was published by the official Saudi Press Agency, SPA.
This raises doubts that the execution statistics provided by human rights organizations in previous years are less than the actual numbers due to the lack of transparency in Saudi Arabia.
The European Saudi Organization had documented the execution of 818 people from 2015 to 2020, 159 in 2015, 154 in 2016, 146 in 2017, 148 in 2018, 186 in 2019, and 27 in 2020.
The European organization considered that, in addition to the temporary ban published by the Human Rights Commission, the Covid-19 pandemic and the exceptional measures that accompanied it, and the complete closure in late March 2020, may have contributed to reducing the numbers. As a result of the closure, some official authorities in the country faltered and disrupted from time to time.
In addition, the G20 summit may have forced Saudi Arabia to mitigate human rights violations.
The organization monitored the implementation of 9 executions after the summit, constituting a total of 33% of the total executions of the year, at a time when it stopped any executions for nearly four months (from July 20 to December 10) before it.
According to the monitoring of the European Saudi Organization, at least 41 people are still at risk of being killed, most of them in political cases.
The organization believes that the actual number is higher, especially with the limited ability of human rights organizations to track and monitor criminal death sentences, especially those related to immigrants and foreign workers, especially that the number of death sentences that are executed against this group is large every year.
Types of charges
Saudi Arabia claims that death sentences are applied according to Islamic law, but an examination of the procedures and standards reveals flagrant violations. According to Islamic law, penalties are divided into:
Retribution: It is applied to crimes of murder, trespassing, and felonies.
Hudud: These are legally prescribed punishments, such as the punishment for adultery, the limit for theft, the limit for harassing, and others.
Punishment: It is a disciplinary punishment that is not capable of committing a sin or felony in which there is no punishment or penance.
The official religious establishment in Saudi Arabia believes in the permissibility of punitive killing, and has extreme understandings of Islamic law that permit the killing of those with different opinions with it through punitive killing.
This is not limited to the killing of peaceful opponents, but also to the killing of those who disagree with it religiously, and it may affect those who express their opinion or participate in a demonstration.
The judiciary in Saudi Arabia uses these understandings to justify rejecting torture victims’ claims in court, and to justify unfair and violent sentences that carry the death penalty.
Until the end of 2020, the death penalty in Saudi Arabia threatens the lives of at least 47 prisoners, most of whom have not been charged with committing very serious crimes. Rather, some of them have not been charged with crimes consistent with the concept of international crime law, but rather face charges related to exercising their right to expression.
The human rights organization considered that the noticeable decrease in the death sentences carried out during the year 2020 does not reflect a radical trend in the official dealing with the death penalty, and its retaliatory and unfair use.
She emphasized that dozens are facing the death penalty on charges related to expressing an opinion and participating in a demonstration, and their trial continues despite the violations involved.
The organization believes that there are many other cases that it was unable to document due to the lack of transparency and the absence of civil society at home, which may include prisoners of conscience, political detainees and individuals facing charges that are not the most serious.
She concluded that many indicators suggest that Saudi Arabia will exceed the number registered in 2020 in 2021, as there are many final rulings that may be implemented at any time.