Amnesty International warned on Tuesday that 14 Saudi citizens face imminent execution following what the organisation describes as an “unfair” mass trial in which they were condemned for “rioting, theft and rebellion”.
Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of death sentences in the world. At least 66 people are known to have been executed in the Kingdom this year already, according to the London-based human rights group.
The Supreme Court in Saudi Arabia has upheld the death penalty for the 14 men. “King Salman’s signature is now all that stands between them and their execution,” explained Samah Hadid, Amnesty’s Director of Campaigns for the Middle-East. “He must immediately quash these death sentences which are a result of sham court proceedings that brazenly flout international fair trial standards.” The court’s decision, argued Hadid, aims to “crush the opposition” and “neutralise” any political opponents.
Amnesty pointed out that, on Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court sentenced 15 other Saudi citizens to death on charges linked to spying for Iran. In recent months, the authorities in the Kingdom have launched a crackdown on political opponents, particularly in the eastern province of Qatif, where many members of the Shia minority live.
On 11 July, four people convicted of terrorist crimes were executed. They were found guilty of attacking the police and rioting in Qatif, said the Ministry of the Interior. The Saudi government insists that terrorists and drug traffickers are behind the unrest in the province.