Saudi Arabia on Wednesday executed seven men for armed robbery, the Interior Ministry said, despite an appeal for clemency by United Nations human rights investigators.The seven were sentenced to
death in 2009 for crimes committed in 2005 and 2006 when human rights
groups said some were younger than 18.
Human rights activists in Saudi Arabia said the seven were executed by firing squad.
from Asir Province in the south of Saudi Arabia, had been due to die
last week but were granted a stay of execution while authorities
reviewed their case. They were
convicted of theft, including armed robbery, the Interior Ministry said.
Human rights group Amnesty International and the mens' families have
said the robberies included one at a jewellery store. Relatives
of the men told Reuters last week they had been forced to confess to
unsolved crimes in the district, in addition to the armed robbery they
had carried out.
Amnesty said the
men later retracted a confession which they said had been obtained
through torture, without giving details of the confession. Saudi Arabia,
the world's biggest oil exporter, denies it uses torture.
Human rights activists in Saudi Arabia, Washington's closest Gulf ally, said the seven were executed by firing squad.
charges against all seven persons were allegedly fabricated and all
seven were convicted following unfair trials," the U.N. experts said in a
statement on Tuesday.
King Abdullah said he had full confidence in the kingdom's justice
system after the United Nations voiced concern over the trial of a Sri
Lankan woman who had been executed.
Interior Ministry named the seven men as Sarhan al-Mushaikh, Saeed
al-Amri, Ali al-Shehri, Nasser al-Qahtani, Saeed al-Shahrani, Abdulaziz
al-Amri and Ali al-Qahtani and said they were part of a gang responsible
for crimes including armed robbery and theft.
group of relatives and friends of the men went to the royal court last
week to seek a retrial or pardon from the king, arguing they had been
denied proper access to legal representation and their crime did not
The men were
granted a stay of execution but were executed eight days later. They
were shot at 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Wednesday in Abha, the capital of
Asir, one of the least developed parts of the country.
Also on Wednesday, authorities executed another national, Fada
al-Subaie in the southwestern Mecca region, after he was convicted of
murdering a fellow Saudi, SPA reported. It did not specify the method of
Wednesday’s executions bring to 26 the number of people put to death in Saudi Arabia so far this year.
In 2012, the kingdom executed 76 people, according to an AFP tally
based on official figures. The US-based Human Rights Watch put the
number at 69.