Amnesty urges Saudi to halt execution of 2 Bahraini men
Amnesty International on Tuesday urged Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of two Bahraini men accused of terrorism-related crimes, as use of the death penalty spikes in the conservative kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has already executed 120 people so far this year, according to an AFP tally. That total includes 81 put to death on a single day in March, all for terrorism-related offences.
It is also nearly double the 65 total executions recorded in 2021, which itself was more than double the total for 2020, Amnesty said in a report Tuesday analysing use of the death penalty worldwide.
In a separate statement Tuesday, Amnesty highlighted the cases of Jaafar Mohammad Sultan and Sadeq Majeed Thamer, two Shiite men from neighbouring Bahrain, whose death sentences were upheld by Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court last month.
Amnesty said the pair “are at imminent risk of execution”.
The sentences were handed down in October 2021 after a “grossly unfair” trial on accusations including “smuggling explosive materials into Saudi Arabia and participating in anti-government protests in Bahrain”, Amnesty said.
Saudi authorities detained the men in October 2015, and the men have testified “that they were tortured and that their so-called confessions were extracted under duress”, Amnesty said.
A Saudi government spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Majority Sunni Saudi Arabia sent troops to Sunni-led Bahrain to crack down on a mainly Shiite protest movement that kicked off in 2011, inspired by revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.
The recent uptick in executions in Saudi Arabia comes as the kingdom, known for its strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law, tries to soften its image through a raft of judicial reforms that could make its courts more transparent and predictable.