End The Death Penalty Press release

Near daily executions in Saudi Arabia in run-up to Grand Prix

Saudi Arabia has executed 16 more people since the mass execution of 81 men on March 12. Eight of those executions took place this week, including two executions on Wednesday March 23, only two days before the first F1 practice session.

On average, Saudi Arabia is executing more than one person per day. If the Kingdom continues to carry out executions at its current rate, there would be nearly 500 executions this year. This would far exceed the highest recorded number of executions, which was 186 in 2019. Already in 2022 Saudi Arabia has executed 108 people which is more people than in 2020 and 2021 combined.

Nearly three-quarters of the 81 men killed in the mass execution were accused of non-lethal offences and, as confirmed by the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, more than half were killed for taking part in pro-democracy protests.

Maya Foa, Reprieve’s Director, said: “Formula One boss Stefano Domenicali says Saudi Arabia is headed in ‘the right direction’ when the Kingdom is on track to execute almost 500 people this year. There have been executions almost every day in the lead-up the race – they have clearly heard the message from the sport’s organisers that there will be no consequences. The ten year deal F1 has just signed with Saudi Arabia is effectively a contract to sportswash the blood stains from Mohammed bin Salman’s regime.”

Lord Hain, Co-Chair of the Motorsport APPG and Vice-Chair of the Formula One APPG, said: “The mass execution of 81 men In Saudi Arabia, over half of whom were pro-democracy protestors, serves as a harrowing reminder of the human rights abuses suffered by the Saudi Arabian people. Formula One cannot be used to legitimate such atrocities. If the Jeddah race is to go ahead, it must be a venue to strongly condemn Mohammed bin Salman’s regime, and all participants – drivers, officials, corporate sponsors – must loudly call for the Kingdom to place a moratorium on the death penalty, in line with Formula One’s core values.”