Executions Nearly Double In Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, February 1, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags:

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

RIYADH (Worthy News) – Executions carried out in Saudi Arabia have nearly doubled since 2015, when King Salman and his son Mohammed bin Salman took charge, according to human rights investigators.

Many prisoners in the strict Islamic-ruled kingdom were killed without warnings to their families, relatives said.

Advocacy group Reprieve and the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights, who investigated Saudi executions for a new report, expressed shock about the many executions.

“Saudi Arabia is known to be one of the world’s most deadly executioners. Between 2010-2021, at least 1,243 people were executed,” Reprieve said in a statement seen by Worthy News.

“The six bloodiest years of executions in Saudi Arabia’s recent history have all occurred under the leadership of Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman. From 2015-2022 there was an average of 129.5 executions per year – that’s a rise of 82 percent,” Reprieve noted.

There was no sign of Saudi Arabia halting death sentences, according to Reprieve investigators. Last year “at least 147 people were executed, with 81 people killed in a single day,” the group recalled.

Their study also claimed that the death penalty was routinely used to silence dissidents and protesters. That practice contravenes international human rights law, which states the death penalty should only be used for the most severe crimes, experts say.


At least 11 people initially detained when they were children were executed since 2015, despite Saudi Arabia’s claims it is curtailing the use of the death penalty against minors, the report said.

Additionally, torture is “endemic” in Saudi prisons, even for child defendants, according to rights investigators with close knowledge of the situation.

Mustafa al-Khayyat was among 81 men killed on March 12, 2022, the largest mass execution in modern Saudi history. His family told the BBC network that they still have no body to bury or grave to visit.

The last they heard from him was a phone call from prison when he signed off with these words to his mother: “Alright, I have to go. I’m glad you’re OK.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi’s de-facto ruler, promised to modernize the Kingdom. He suggested in an interview in 2018 that his country, a key Western ally, was trying to “minimize” its use of the death penalty.

But experts say Saudi Arabia remains one of the world’s leading executioners despite a break during Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the Group of 20 (G20) and the COVID pandemic.

The report also came amid reported pressure on Saudi converts from Islam to Christianity. Men and women abandoning Islam risk being killed to ‘restore’ the family honor, according to the Christian advocacy group Open Doors.

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