Saudi Arabia executes 150 people for second successive year

Saudi Arabia executes 150 people for second successive year
According to statistics from UK-based human rights group Reprieve, a high percentage of those executed are political dissidents or individuals tortured into confessions.
2 min read
19 December, 2016
Executions in Saudi Arabia are ordinarily carried out by beheading [Getty]
Saudi Arabia is set to execute 150 people or more, for the second year in a row, according to statistics compiled by Reprieve.

The human rights group notes that 150 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia so far this year, following 158 executions in 2015, up from 87 in 2014.

Additionally, a high percentage of those killed were political dissidents, and individuals tortured into confessions who had been processed through “state security” cases conducted in secret courts, according to Reprieve.

In January alone Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, among them prominent Shia Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, sparking a frosting of relations with regional rival Iran who consequently banned its citizens from travelling to Saudi Arabia to attend this year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca and Medina. 

Reprieve also expressed concern regarding Riyadh’s continued practice of jailing, and levelling death sentences at juveniles.

One example is the case of Ali al-Nimr, the nephew of executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Ali al-Nimr was only 17 years old when he was arrested in 2012 on charges including participating in illegal demonstrations, and “explaining how to give first aid to protestors”.

He has been sentenced to “death by crucixion” and could face his sentence at any time, according to Reprieve.

Last year former British Prime Minister David Cameron called on Saudi Arabia to stop the planned executions of Ali al-Nimr, and a number of other juveniles on death row in Saudi Arabia.

However, the UK-based Reprieve has called on the UK to not only seek assurances the death sentence will not be carried out but to additionally request that the sentences are quashed and the juveniles released. 

Ali al-Nimr was only 17 when he was arrested in 2012. He has been in jail ever since
and is currently on death row facing "death by crucifixion" [Screengrab from Twitter]