On 29th May 2023, Saudi authorities executed 9 men, 2 of them are Bahraini nationals who have been in arbitrary detention in Saudi Arabia since 8 May 2015. Jafar Mohammed Sultan and Sadeq Majeed Tamer were sentenced to death in October 2021, following a flawed and unfair trial based on confessions extracted under torture.
Prior to their executions, international and local human rights organisations had been calling on the Saudi government to invalidate the death sentence against Sultan and Tamer and investigate the allegations of torture they might have been subjected to, and to re-try them in accordance with the international standards of fair trial.
On 3rd June 2022, a letter sent by the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, and the vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, following up on a similar communication in January of the same year, urged the Saudi Government to halt any possible steps towards the execution of Jafar Sultan and Sadeq Tamer and “to annul the death sentence imposed on them; to investigate fully the allegations of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that they may have suffered and to ensure that they are re-tried in conformity with international law and standards.”
The ruling of the Saudi Specialised Criminal Court was based on insufficient evidence and the torture-stamped confessions of Sultan and Tamer which they refuted later. Moreover, they were denied access to adequate legal counsel and representations and were left with a single month to appeal the sentence before the ultimate decision of the Saudi Supreme Court [which upheld the death sentence later].
We, the under-signatories,
- Condemn the execution which was carried out following an unjust sentence that violates both international and local Saudi laws, thus we consider it to be extrajudicial killing.
- Demand thorough investigations into the aforementioned case and draw on its results to determine the perpetrators of this extrajudicial killing, and to hold them accountable in preparation to try them later.
- Call on the Saudi authorities to halt executions, establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, and commute the death sentences of those on death row.
- Urge the Saudi authorities to thoroughly investigate torture allegations against the political prisoners and re-try them in conformity with international fair trial standards if they were proven guilty.
- Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR)
- Capital Punishment Justice Project (CPJP)
- Amnesty International Australia
- Australian Centre for International Justice