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Death sentences and executions in 2013 39

Amnesty International recorded the imposition of at least six death sentences in Saudi Arabia, including against two women. The real number is likely to be much higher. Authorities in Saudi Arabia routinely violate international standards for fair trial and safeguards for defendants, who in many cases are not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them. Reports in some cases indicated that during pre-trial interrogation suspects were severely beaten, denied food and water, deprived of sleep, forced to remain standing for 24 hours and to sign “confessions”. Security officers have been reported as threatening defendants and their families with physical punishment if they withdraw their “confessions” at trial. Trials in capital cases are often held in secret, lasting only a few hours, and with no legal assistance or representation through the various stages of detention and trial.

In December, the Supreme Court ordered a halt to proceedings in the capital case of Mabruk bin Ali al-Sai’ari and once more referred the case for re-examination by the General Court in Najran. His representatives had complained that the case files included falsified information and testimonies. Mabruk bin Ali al-Sai’ari was not assisted by a lawyer throughout the pre-trial interrogation, during which he was tortured, nor during any of his trials. In 2007 and again in 2012 he had been sentenced to death for armed robbery and murder, based on contradictory evidence provided by one witness and sworn statements from four male relatives of the victim. Each relative swore 13 times, amounting to a collective total of 52 oaths, even though none of them had witnessed the alleged crime. The death penalty is used disproportionately against foreign nationals, especially migrant workers from poor and developing countries in Asia and Africa. In 2013, at least 37 foreign nationals were executed. According to data compiled by Amnesty International, out of at least 2,017 people executed in Saudi Arabia between 1985 and 2013, at least 991 were foreign nationals – almost half. Foreign nationals with little or no knowledge of Arabic – the language of pre-trial interrogation and trial hearings – are often denied adequate interpretation facilities. Saudi Arabia again executed individuals for crimes they allegedly committed while under the age of 18, as in 2007 and 2009, in breach of international law. In March two men who were under 18 when arrested were shot in a public square in Abha.

In January Sri Lankan domestic worker Rizana Nafeek was beheaded. When she was 17, she allegedly killed an infant in her care. Rizana Nafeek had no access to lawyers either during her pre-trial interrogation or at her trial in 2007, during which she was not allowed to present her birth certificate or other evidence of her age to the court. She claimed that she had been forced to make a “confession” under duress following a physical assault, which she later retracted. The man who translated her statement may not have been able to adequately translate between Tamil and Arabic. He left Saudi Arabia soon after. Before Rizana Nafeek’s execution, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had appealed to the Saudi Arabian King to exercise clemency. During 2013, the internal armed conflict between government and opposition forces in Syria continued, bringing with it thousands more violent deaths, many of them civilians. The death penalty remained in force, but it was not possible to confirm whether any death sentences were imposed, nor whether any judicial executions were carried out by the state.66

Amnesty International March 2014

Index: ACT 50/001/2014

Death sentences and executions 2013  

This report is also available in Arabic, Farsi, French, Russian and Spanish at the following link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AC...

Death sentences and executions 2013  

This report is also available in Arabic, Farsi, French, Russian and Spanish at the following link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AC...

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