Saturday, June 11, 2011
Amnesty reacts to increase in executions in Saudi Arabia
Executions in Saudi Arabia are mostly done by beheading with the help of a sword
The Saudi Arabian authorities must halt the use of the death penalty, Amnesty International said on Friday, following a significant increase in executions in the country in the last six weeks. At least 27 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia in 2011, the same as the total number of people executed in the whole of 2010. Fifteen people were executed in May alone.
Philip Luther, Amnesty's Deputy Director for the Middles East and North Africa said that Amnesty International is aware of over 100 prisoners, many of them foreign nationals, who are currently on death row.
Two brothers, Muhammad Jaber Shahbah al-Ja’id, 54, and Sa’ud Jaber Shahbah al-Ja’id, 47, are at imminent risk of execution. They were sentenced to death in 1998 by a court in Mekkah, for the murder of another Saudi Arabian man. Their sentences were said to have been ratified by the King and it is feared that they could be executed any time. It appears that Sa’ud Jaber Shahbah al-Ja’id confessed under duress as the authorities reportedly arrested his elderly father in order to place pressure on him. Also it appears that Muhammad and Sa’ud al-Ja’id were sentenced to death after a trial in which they received no legal assistance.
A high number of those on death row are foreigners, This also happened in the past. At least 158 people, including 76 foreign nationals, were executed by the Saudi Arabian authorities in 2007. In 2008 some 102 people, including almost 40 foreign nationals.