Saudi Arabia executes citizen during Ramadan for first time in 14 years

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Saudi Arabia has carried out an execution during the holy month of Ramadan for the first time in 14 years, according to the European Arab Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR).

ESOHR, a non-governmental organization with offices in London and Berlin, said the kingdom had not witnessed a death sentence during the religious month since 2009.

The group reported that the execution took place on March 30, bringing the total number of death sentences carried out in Saudi Arabia this year to 17.

“The execution of the death penalty during the holy month is in addition to the series of violations that emerged and grew during the reign of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” ESOHR said in a statement.

The group said detainees, including minors, remain at risk in Saudi Arabia’s prisons as authorities seek to speed up the execution of death sentences.

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“It shows Saudi Arabia’s insistence on any social, cultural or humanitarian restrictions. It also shows its lack of commitment to commitments to restrict and limit execution.”

Among the 17 people executed by the Saudi authorities this year, 12 were Saudi nationals, one was a Pakistani citizen, as well as one Indian and one from Jordan.

Hussein Abo al-Kheir, a Jordanian citizen, was executed on March 12 despite the intervention of the UN and two British foreign ministers.

Abo al-Kheir, a father of eight who worked as a taxi driver, was reportedly tortured for 12 days and forced to sign a false confession on drug charges.

Saudi Arabia also executed Haider al-Tahifa, a Saudi national, on charges of seizing weapons and belonging to a banned group.

Thousands at risk

ESOHR reported that at least 64 people are at risk of execution after the Specialized Court of Appeal confirmed dozens of death sentences in March, including minors.

“Although the families believed that the enforcement of the rulings would be suspended during Ramadan, the latest ruling raises real concerns, especially since Saudi Arabia does not notify them in advance,” ESOHR said.

“Implementing the [death] The sentence during Ramadan is indicative of an increase in bloodshed. It also shows that Salman and his son [MBS] they broke the covenant of all the restrictions, values ​​and promises they made,” he said.

In March 2022, Saudi Arabia executed at least 81 people in a single day, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian, who were convicted of various crimes, including kidnapping and rape.

Human rights groups have criticized Saudi Arabia’s judicial process as being based on forced confessions and lacking legal norms that protect the rights of the accused.

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