The Saudi Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday (July 11th, 2017) the execution of four activists; residents of the Qatif area, who it claims are ‘convicted of terrorism’. The Victims are: Amjad Naji Al Mu’aybid, Zaher Abdul Rahim Al Basri, Yousuf Ali Al-Meshaishe and Mahdi Mohammad Hassan Al Sayegh.
Indeed, the Saudi Interior Ministry utilizes the ‘Terrorism’ charge to retaliate against a number of conscience activists and social equality advocates, which constitutes an extrajudicial killing, especially practiced in the aftermath of unfair trials.
Thus, the number of executions in Saudi Arabia has risen up to 48 cases, since the beginning of 2017. It is noteworthy that 153 people were executed in Saudi Arabia in 2016. Additionally, in the previous year, Saudi Arabia executed the same number of people, which is the highest rate in nearly 20 years.
Bahraini human rights organisations condemn this execution including: Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR), Salam of Democracy and Human Rights(SALAM) and Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR).
The organisations define the execution as a part of the continuum repressive campaign by the Saudi authorities against all citizens and activists who oppose it, based on their demands for civil and political rights. Moreover, these executions for political reasons are not the first case, but they fall within the series of measures, particularly targeting the Qatif area, and its residents who led an opposition movement.
The organisations add, “The Saudi authorities exploit the charge of ‘terrorism’ against its opponents at any time, and without hesitation.” The organisations stress that the ‘Anti-Terrorism Legislation’ can not serve as a pretext to justify this kind of illegal and unjust judgments, especially that this accusation is directed against activists and citizens, merely because they exercise their due rights for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, which are guaranteed by international covenants.
Further, the signatory organisations mention that the execution sentences in Saudi Arabia is strongly rejected by International Human Rights organizations; including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. These organisations consistently urge Saudi Arabia to halt the death penalty for its violation of human rights. They, in addition, point that what exacerbates the situation is the absence of judicial transparency. They state that this situation raises a lot of questions over the lack of justice and integrity, especially in terms of utilizing the judiciary, by the Saudi authorities, on political issues in a blatant violation of fair trials.
Besides, the signatory human rights organizations condemn the international silence over the deterioration of human rights in Saudi Arabia, and call upon the international community to act immediately to put pressure on Saudi Arabia government to halt the death penalty against political activists and opponents, and to reconsider the minimum standards of human rights and due freedoms, stipulated by various covenants and international conventions.