Saudi Arabia’s official press agency has announced that 37 people were killed today, 23 April 2019, in a mass execution. Most, if not all, were convicted in the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC), the Kingdom’s secretive and widely condemned anti-terrorism tribunal.
At least three of those executed were minors at the time of their alleged offences. This is a flagrant violation of international law, which prohibits sentencing juveniles to death.
Abdulkarim al-Hawaj was charged with participating in demonstrations, incitement via social media and preparing banners with anti-state slogans. He was beaten, tortured with electricity and chained with his hands above his head until he ‘confessed’ to terrorism offences.
Mujtaba al-Sweikat was arrested at King Fahd International Airport, on his way to begin his studies at Western Michigan University. He was severely beaten all over his body, including the soles of his feet, and convicted on the basis of a confession extracted through torture.
Salman Qureish was arrested shortly after his 18th birthday, accused of crimes that took place when he was a juvenile. He was denied basic legal rights and sentenced to death in a mass trial, despite repeated interventions on his behalf by the United Nations.
Many of the others executed were also tortured into signing confessions. Munir al-Adam was beaten so badly he lost the hearing in one ear. Abbas al-Hassan was beaten while blindfolded, forced to stand in stress positions for hours and deprived of sleep.
The Kingdom has executed more than 100 people in the first four months of 2019, and is on track to execute more than 300 this year.
As Reprieve Director Maya Foa said: “This is another egregious display of brutality by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. That the Saudi regime believes it has impunity to carry out such patently illegal executions, without notice, should shock its international partners into action.”