Human Lives Human Rights: The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is among the main violators of human rights. With the support of Western governments, this government does not limit itself in the field of human rights violations.
One of the main crimes of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to carry out countless illegal and extra-legal executions, which has placed this country in one of the highest number of executions in the world.
In May 2022, the Saudi government executed “Hussein Al-Boabdullah” and “Mohammed Khizar Al-Awami” two young Shiites of this country on false pretenses.
The Saudi Ministry of Interior charged these two people with charges such as “collaborating with terrorist groups, creating unrest and insecurity in the country, possessing weapons, ammunition, and RPGs with the intention of disrupting the security of the country.”
A Twitter activist from Qatif said that the Saudi authorities buried the bodies of two political activists and prisoners of conscience in an unspecified place after the execution of Hussein Al-Boabdullah and Mohammad Khizar Al-Awami.
Also, last March, the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced the execution of 81 people on trumped-up charges of “having deviant beliefs, intelligence cooperation with ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Yemen’s Ansarullah, and acting against public security and creating riots and chaos.” More than 40 of them were Shiites.
Every year, the Saudi government sentences a large number of opponents of Al-Saud to severe punishments and death sentences with the aim of countering freedom of expression and under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
In recent years, the people of Eastern Arabia have demonstrated many times in protest against the repressive measures of the Saudi regime and the killing of dozens of protesters in the cities of Al-Awamiyyah and Qatif, but each time they faced severe repression by the Al-Saud forces.
Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, a prominent Saudi Shia cleric, was considered one of the most prominent political prisoners in this country, who was executed in early 2016 on charges of criticizing Saudi Arabia and acting against the country’s national security.
Hours after the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced that 81 people were executed in this country, the media opposing the Saudi government revealed that 41 of them were Shiites.
Naba satellite channel announced that among those executed, there were 41 Shiite youths of Qatif in Al-Ahsa province, who were previously arrested and imprisoned by the Saudi government under various pretexts, stating that this killing was done against young people who were using their legitimate right to express their opinion, this network added that Mohammed bin Salman is a killer who enjoys killing innocent people.
This network introduced the Saudi regime as a barbaric and murderous regime and announced that this killing is a practical sign that all Saudi claims about reform are just empty propaganda.
Suppression under the pretext of cooperation with Iran
In this regard, one of the foreign media reported that at least 33 of the people who were beheaded by the Saudi government are Shiites of this country. This is while many of the accusations against these Shia citizens are completely baseless and the political courts have issued these verdicts.
Gatherings and demonstrations, espionage and of course terrorism are among the accusations attributed to these Saudi citizens. Amnesty International has considered these executions as a tool for the political repression of the Shiite minority.
This is while the highest number of executions in Saudi Arabia dates back to January 2016, when the Saudi government executed 47 opponents of its regime. According to human rights sources, twenty-five people have been executed on charges of “spying for Iran” and the “Qatif 24” case, and in both cases, the Saudi government obtained confessions from these people under torture.
According to the statement of the Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia, these people were executed in the cities of Riyadh, Mecca, Medina, Qasim, Asir and Sharqiya region. Also, one of these people, in addition to execution, was sentenced to “crucifixion”, which in the Saudi constitution means displaying headless body in public.
The reaction of the American Religious Freedom Commission to the executions in Saudi Arabia
The American Commission on Religious Freedom, whose members are appointed by the President of the United States and the representatives of Congress and has an advisory role, asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of this country in statements to end the exemption of Saudi Arabia from criticism and punishment.
In its annual report to Congress, the US State Department raised Saudi Arabia’s particular concern due to the violation of religious freedom among countries, which usually obliges Washington to implement punitive measures such as imposing economic sanctions against Riyadh; but the American foreign ministers have exempted Riyadh from punishment every year under the pretext of national security interests.
The head of this commission, Tenzin Durieh, at the same time as requesting the end of Riyadh’s exemption from Washington’s sanctions, in a statement, executed a number of followers of the Shia minority in this country based on their religious identity and peaceful activity, not only shocking but definitely in line with the official positions of the US government. He found it contradictory about trying to move towards more modernization and improving the conditions of religious freedoms.
Time to time, US Presidents have pledged to maintain close relations with Saudi Arabia, referring to Riyadh’s major arms purchases and its hostility towards Iran, which is considered a rival of the United States.
In a report about the beheading of 37 people in Saudi Arabia, the CNN network said that the trial process of these executed people was very unfair and their confessions were fake and were recorded under severe torture.
While Riyadh claims that the executed have confessed to their crime, the court documents of those executed in the cities of “Sharqiya”, “Qassim”, “Riyadh”, “Asir”, “Madinah” and “Mecca” show that the victims have protested their judicial decisions and have repeatedly told the court that some of the confessions were made under pressure and torture.
Referring to the young age of some of the executed people when they were arrested, CNN called the executions very unfair and unusual.
According to Amnesty International, 149 people were executed in Saudi Arabia in 2018. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that executes death sentences by beheading.
The “New York Times” wrote in an article that at least 33 of the executed people were Shiites who had been tortured for a long time, and there are serious doubts about the fairness of the proceedings in their cases.
The brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Jamal Khashoggi (October 13, 1958 – October 2, 2018) was a journalist, columnist and author from Saudi Arabia. He was also the director and chief editor of Arab News Network and a critic of the way of governance in Saudi Arabia. He also wrote for the Washington Post.
Jamal fled from Saudi Arabia in 2017 and exiled himself from the country. He was a strong critic of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, and the King of the country, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Jamal went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 and disappeared. The evidence shows that he was killed inside the Saudi consulate and his body was dismembered and removed from there. Jamal was the grandson of Mohammad Khashoggi, King Abdulaziz’s special physician, and Adnan Khashoggi, who became famous in the McFarlane affair in Iran, was his uncle.
Saudi Arabia, which for two weeks strongly denied any knowledge of Jamal Khashoggi’s fate and said that he left after going to the consulate. On October 19, 2018, Saudi Arabia’s official television confirmed the killing of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, claiming that he was killed during an accidental altercation.
Also, the order to dismiss General Ahmed Asiri, Deputy Minister of Intelligence of Saudi Arabia, and Saud Al-Qahtani, one of Mohammed bin Salman’s assistants, was issued, and 18 other unknown people were arrested, and a delegation from three Saudi ministries was assigned to submit a full report within a one-month deadline.
This was despite the fact that during the 17 days after Khashoggi’s disappearance in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Saudi government claimed that he left the Saudi consulate safely and that the crown prince was unaware of his fate.