Saudi Arabia: GCHR condemns the politicised executions of 81 citizens

14.03.22

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) condemns in the strongest term the recent executions of 81 men which took place in Saudi Arabia on 12 March 2022. The executions are part of an oppressive and brutal trend that we have witnessed since Mohammed bin Salman became the crown prince in 2017.

Among those executed were seven Yemenis and one Syrian, according to the interior ministry, in what was the largest mass execution in decades. There were 67 executions in 2021 and 27 in 2020. The interior ministry said that they were executed for joining militant groups or holding "deviant beliefs", among other charges.

GCHR believes strongly that the death penalty has been used as a political tool by the Saudi authorities, and is designed to spread fear in the country and terrorise citizens, in particular human rights activists, in an attempt by the ruling family to keep their hold on power firmly.

Human rights groups fear for the lives of prisoners of conscience and other people on death row who have not committed violent crimes.

GCHR calls on all international mechanisms, including the United Nations mechanisms, and governments who have influence in Saudi Arabia, especially the United States, the United Kingdom, and European Union members, to intervene urgently and effectively in order to stop these massacres that violate human dignity and safety. These executions are taking place in the shadow of the utmost politicised judiciary which has completely lost its independence, and become a malleable tool used by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in order to liquidate his political opponents, prominent society figures, human rights activists, and peaceful protesters.