Saudi Arabia Executes Prisoner Convicted Of Protest

July 11, 2017

The Saudi authorities have executed four men who were convicted in a secret ‘terrorism’ court – including at least one  man who was convicted on charges relating to protests. It marks the first execution coming from the terrorism court since a mass execution in January 2016, in which several protesters convicted at the court were killed.

In an announcement today, the Saudi authorities claimed to have executed four ‘terrorists’ from the country’s Eastern Province. The executions appear to mark the first execution of prisoners tried at the controversial Specialized Criminal Court since a mass execution in January 2016, which attracted international condemnation.

The SCC is supposed to hear terrorism cases; however, it has also been used to sentence alleged protesters to death, including several juveniles.

International human rights organization Reprieve understands that at least one of the men executed today was sentenced to death on charges relating to protests. The man is understood to have been tortured into signing a ‘confession’, which was relied on to convict him at the SCC.

Yesterday, the Saudi authorities executed six people in one day. The Kingdom’s executions total for 2017 now stands at an estimated 54.

Commenting, Reprieve director Maya Foa said:

“It’s appalling that Saudi Arabia has brazenly carried out a death sentence handed down on protest-related charges. The Saudi terrorism court is a deeply flawed, unjust body – it has sentenced juveniles and protesters to death, often on the basis of ‘confessions’ extracted through torture. The Kingdom’s closest allies, such as the UK and the US, are fond of touting their joint counterterror work with the Saudis – they must now urgently tell Riyadh that these unlawful executions in the name of counter-terrorism must stop.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organisation. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications@reprieve.org.uk. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on: katherine.oshea@reprieve.org, or +1 917 855 8064.