Saudi Arabia will have executed 150 civilians by the end of 2016: Human rights group

Saudi Arabia will have executed at least 150 civilians by the end of the year, according to a report released by a human rights group.

Saudi Arabia will have executed 150 civilians by the end of 2016: Human rights group

Saudi Arabia will have executed at least 150 civilians by the end of the year, according to a report released by a human rights group.

On January 2 this year alone 47  civilians were executed on terrorism charges in one day, with the majority beheaded, says the report by UK-based human rights group Reprieve.

The January executions sparked protests across the Middle East, during which demonstrators attacked the Saudi Embassy in Baghdad and buildings were burned down in Tehran.


The reports titled as “Justice Crucified: The Death Penalty in Saudi Arabia” reveals that of those tried for state security offences including protesting, two were confirmed to be foreign nationals and four were juveniles. Meanwhile, 81 people – including 20 foreign nationals - were executed for committing murder, and 23 for drug trafficking.

The group claims that legal norms are being ignored in the Saudi courts, such the lack of a lawyer present at hearings and even the use of torture to extract confessions. As many as 72% of those facing execution in Saudi Arabia were sentenced to death for non-violent offences, including attendance at political protests and drug-related offences. 69% of those executed in the past year had been sentenced to death for non-violent offences.

Reprieve said that majority of those executed this year were arrested on drugs or terrorism offences. Several were young people under the age of 18.

In Saudi Arabia, the death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences including murder, rape, blasphemy, drug use, adultery and witchcraft. It is one of four countries – the others are North Korea, Somalia and Iran – which still carries out public executions.

The dramatic surge in the number of executions in the past two years in Saudi Arabia demonstrates that country’s authorities are increasingly out of step with a global trend of states moving away from the death penalty.