Two Bahrainis are at Imminent Risk of Execution in Saudi Arabia

The undersigned organisations express their concern that two young Bahrainis, Jaafar Sultan and Sadiq Thamer, are at imminent risk of execution in Saudi Arabia, following the Supreme Court’s decision on 7 April 2022 to uphold death sentences against them.

The Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) had sentenced Thamer and Sultan to death on 7 October 2021, on the basis of Ta’zir (the judge’s discretion), on terrorism and protest-related charges, following an unfair trial. This was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 11 January 2022.

From the moment of their arrest on 8 May 2015, the two young men have been subjected to various violations, including enforced disappearance, torture, forced to make confessions, and denial of access to legal councel.

On 22 January 2022, the United Nations special rapporteurs sent a letter to the Saudi authorities, calling on them to immediately overturn the  death sentences against Jaafar Sultan and Sadiq Thamer, stating that the imposition of the death sentence would be constitute an “arbitrary killing”.

The letter added  that the death penalty can only be imposed following compliance with a strict set of substantive and procedural requirements and guarantees of a fair trial, which have “repotedly not been complied with in the cases of Mr. Sultan and Mr. Thamer” .

The Saudi authorities responded to the letter by claiming without proof that the torture allegations were unfounded, , and were unable to show that the individuals were not  subjected to enforced disappearance.

The Supreme Court’s ratification of the death sentences nearly two months after the letter of the special rapporteurs confirms that the Saudi authorities are determined to implement the sentences despite the special rapporteurs’ analysis of the case and calls for the executions to be overturned.

Following the Surpeme Court’s decision, the two men have now exhausted their legal remedies and may be executed at any time. In 2022 so far, the Saudi authorities have carried out 120 executions, over double the number of executions throughout 2021.

The organisations believe that Saudi Arabia should comply with the request of the special rapporteurs and stop the arbitrary executions against Jaafar Sultan and Sadiq Thamer.

 The organizations also stress that the continuation of these provisions and the lack of retrial, as well as the failure to investigate allegations of torture seriously, is a violation of international law and Saudi Arabia’s obligations, especially the Convention against Torture.


The signatories:

  • European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR)
  • AlQST for Human Rights
  • Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR)
  • Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR)
  • Salam For Democracy and Human Rights
  • Khiam Rehabilitation Center for victims of torture (KRC)
  • Arab commission for human rights
  • World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)