End The Death Penalty In the news

MPs call on Liz Truss to intervene to stop Saudi Arabia executing academic for ‘contents of his library’

Over a dozen British MPs and peers have urged the UK government to stop Saudi Arabia from sentencing a prominent academic to death, as human rights campaigners put pressure on Riyadh to halt capital punishment for non-lethal offences and juvenile crimes.

Saudi scholar Hassan al-Maliki has been behind bars since 2017 on a range of charges, including “conducting interviews with western news outlets” and “owning books” that are “not authorised” by the kingdom. The father of nine, who has called for a pluralistic Saudi society and political reform, is currently being tried in Saudi Arabia’s specialised criminal court in a case that has been postponed 12 times.

The British rights group Reprieve says he was held incommunicado and in solitary confinement for three months. Reprieve has called on the Saudi authorities to act on promises of reform and ending death sentences for all non-lethal offences, as well as for those sentenced for crimes committed when they were juveniles.

Jeed Basyouni, from Reprieve, described “a consistent gap between what the Saudi authorities say and what they do with regard to the death penalty”.

“While Mohammed bin Salman poses as a reformer, Hassan faces a death sentence for suggesting similar reforms,” she said. Read the full story in The Independent.