Saudi Arabia executed 120 prisoners this year: report

More than 100 executions have been carried out in Saudi Arabia this year at a pace that could see a record number of prisoners in the kingdom sentenced to death, according to a new report.

In the first six months of 2022, the kingdom has sentenced 120 prisoners to death – a higher rate than the 186 executions three years ago, an analysis by a human rights group shows.

Much of the killings occurred in March, when Saudi Arabia killed 81 people accused of crimes – the largest mass execution on record in the country’s modern history. According to the group, by June 2022 the Saudi government had killed more people than in the previous two years combined.

In the first six months of 2022, Saudi Arabia imposed the death penalty on 120 prisoners.
In March, Saudi Arabia killed 81 people accused of crimes.
Iraqi Ministry of Justice via AP

“The mass execution is an example of the opacity of the Saudi Arabian criminal justice system – 69 of the 81 executed men were unknown to human rights groups,” said the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights in the report released on July 29.

“It is therefore impossible to assess the full extent to which international human rights law is respected in the use of the death penalty.”

“If Saudi Arabia continues to execute people at the same pace in the second half of 2022,” the report warned, “they will reach an unprecedented number of executions, surpassing the record high of 186 executions in 2019.”

According to the organization, about 100 of those executed in the first half of 2022 were Saudi nationals, while 19 were nationals of other countries. They included nine Yemenis, three Egyptians, two Indonesians, as well as one Ethiopian, one Myanmarian, one Jordanian, one Palestinian and one Syrian, the report said.

Despite promises by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman to end the use of the death penalty for “discretionary” offences, the analysis found that 72 people were tried for alleged such offenses and subsequently killed.

Crown Prince Mohammed has eased some of Saudi Arabia’s policies but has also ordered the dismemberment of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi and killed hundreds of Yemeni civilians in airstrikes.

Square of Justice.
Executions in Saudi Arabia take place in Justice Square.
Peer Grimm/picture alliance/dpa/
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vowed to end the use of the death penalty for “discretionary” crimes.
Amr Nabil/AP Saudi Arabia executed 120 prisoners this year: report


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