Human rights group Amnesty International has called on Saudi Arabia to halt the executions of 14 individuals who were sentenced to death following a “grossly unfair mass trial” as part of the kingdom’s “bloody execution spree.” Amnesty International took a similar position recently in a report that denounced the regime in Yaounde, Cameroon.
“By confirming these sentences Saudi Arabia’s authorities have displayed their ruthless commitment to the use of the death penalty as a weapon to crush dissent and neutralize political opponents,” said Amnesty’s director of campaigns for the Middle-East, Samah Hadid, on Monday.
The 14 individuals were convicted over charges of “armed rebellion against the ruler” by, among other things, “participating in shooting at security personnel, security vehicles,” “preparing and using Molotov Cocktail bombs,” “theft and armed robbery” and “inciting chaos, organizing and participating in riots.”
Legal documents show that the men were subjected to lengthy pre-trial imprisonment and had been tortured and ill-treated during their interrogation in which they confessed.
“King Salman’s signature is now all that stands between them and their execution. He must immediately quash these death sentences which are a result of sham court proceedings that brazenly flout international fair trial standards,” she added.
Some 66 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the year, 26 of whom were killed over the past few weeks. Earlier in the month, Amnesty stressed that Saudi Arabia is using the death penalty as a means to silence Shia dissent.
The much respected NGO revealed in its latest report, “Chambers of Secret Torture in Cameroon: Human Rights Violations and War Crimes in the Fight against Boko Haram,” that “Cameroon security forces continued to arbitrarily arrest individuals accused of supporting Boko Haram, often with little or no evidence, and detained them in inhumane, often life-threatening conditions. Hundreds of suspects were held in unofficial detention centres, such as military bases or premises belonging to the national intelligence agencies, without access to a lawyer or their families. The security forces continued to use “cordon and search” operations, leading to mass arrests,” noted the Amnesty report.