The European-Saudi Organization for Human Rights said that the Saudi authorities carried out the first executions in 2023, with five sentences of haraba and a discretionary sentence.
The organization indicated in a statement that on the first of this month, the Saudi Ministry of Interior published a statement announcing the implementation of death sentences against four people.
Three days later, on March 4, the official news agency published two official statements announcing the implementation of two death sentences, the first and second death penalty.
The six sentences are the first recorded sentences since the beginning of 2023, and they come more than three months after the publication of the last execution that was carried out in a case related to drug charges.
The human rights organization highlighted that during the period between November 23, 2022, and March 1, 2023, it did not monitor any official news about the implementation of death sentences, but information from various sources confirmed the performance of death sentences in secret and without an official announcement, as usual.
According to the data issued by the Ministry of the Interior, the four Saudis, who were executed on March 1, were accused of “breaking into the victim’s apartment, breaking its door to assault him, which led to him escaping from them by jumping out of the window and falling on his head, kidnapping him, putting him in the trunk of the car by force, and taking him to a far place out of sight, and beat him with their hands and feet, tore off his clothes, and threw him naked, which resulted in his death.”
These charges show that the four defendants did not directly kill the victim by using a weapon, and this shows that there is an expansion in the use of the battlefield in issuing death sentences.
In addition, the statement of the Ministry of the Interior on March 4 announced the execution of Muhammad bin Abd al-Razzaq bin Saad Faydi after he was convicted of charges including assaulting and deliberately killing a security man and entering and setting fire to an oil facility to detonate it.
In May 2006, the official Saudi media published news about the arrest of a suspect with the same name, accused of shooting at facilities, and said that he was mentally ill. The sixth ruling was also issued against a Saudi citizen with a ta’zir ruling, which is issued at the judge’s discretion.
The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights confirmed that the six executions that were carried out at the beginning of March show confusion in the execution file about the type of sentences and breaking promises.
It indicated that in light of the lack of transparency in the Saudi government’s dealings and in light of the flaws rooted in the judiciary and the systematic practice of torture, ill-treatment, and others, no verdict issued by it could be trusted.
The organization considered that the recent executions raise serious concerns that Saudi Arabia will return to the rapid execution of sentences, as it carried out 147 sentences in 2022.
It also expressed its concern that the executions are a prelude to the start of execution of sentences against demonstrators, minors and others accused of cases related to the exercise of legitimate rights. According to ESOHR monitoring, at least 65 detainees are at risk of execution, including nine minors.