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Death Penalty Disproportionately Used against Foreigners in Saudi Arabia: Rights Group

10 November 2015 14:48


Saudi Arabia has used death penalty disproportionately against foreign nationals, mostly migrant workers from developing countries, Amnesty International said in a new report.

Of the 63 people executed this year for drug-related charges, 45 were foreigners. The total number of foreigners executed so far this year is 71.

“Foreign nationals, mostly migrant workers from developing countries, are particularly vulnerable as they typically lack knowledge of Arabic and are denied adequate translation during their trials,” the report by the Amnesty International said on Monday.

The UK-based human rights group also slammed the surge in Saudi Arabia’s executions, which it said is at a 20-years high. Saudi Arabia has executed at least 151 people this year, the most since 1995 and far above the annual figure in recent years which rarely exceeded 90, Amnesty International said.

Defenders of the Saudi death penalty say beheadings, usually with a single sword stroke, are at least as humane as lethal injections used in the United States. They deplore any comparison between its executions of convicted criminals and ISIL killings of hostages.

Shiite Muslims are also specifically targeted by political executions in the country, Amnesty added, and also slammed the kingdom for executing people under the age of 18, Reuters reported.

UN human rights experts have called on the Saudi government to stop the execution of minors, pointing to the case of Ali Mohammed Nimr, who was convicted for protesting when he was a teenager, a statement from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued in September said.

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