The number of executions in Saudi Arabia has doubled since 2015 when Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman took power, according to an analysis. According to a report released by the Saudi human rights group "Cancellation of Death Penalty" and the European Saudi Human Rights Organization (ESOHR) on the 31st of last month (local time), Saudi Arabia executed 129.5 executions annually between 2015 and 2022. This is 1.83 times higher than the annual average of 70.8 between 2010 and 2014. "Since Crown Prince Bin Salman took power, the death penalty has increased significantly," the report said. "The crown prince has violated his promise to 'only rule the death penalty for murder' and abused the death penalty for other crimes, blocking dissidents and protesters."
Crown Prince bin Salman has become Saudi Arabia's real power since January 2015, when his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, took the throne. In September last year, he also took office as prime minister, the official head of Saudi Arabia.
"The Saudi government of bin Salman continues to execute minors, women, foreigners and misdemeanors," the report said. In particular, foreign women from Southeast Asia who work as domestic helpers continue to be put on the death penalty. An Indonesian woman who beat her employer to death with a blunt weapon in 2018 was beheaded.
"In Saudi Arabia, judges can judge and sentence criminal charges that have not been codified under Islamic law," ESOHR said. "The United Nations considers them arbitrary and illegal." Modern judicial principles, such as the principle of criminal justice and the sentence of imprisonment according to sentencing standards, have not been observed.
The report suggested the number of irregular executions on the basis that executions are being carried out arbitrarily. According to the report, 81 cases, or 55 percent of 147 executions last year, were executed on a day on March 12. No executions were carried out at all in 2020 and 2021. The report analyzed, "The year 2020-2021 is a time when relations with the U.S. have deteriorated sharply as Crown Prince Bin Salman was pointed out as the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who criticized the Saudi royal family."
Human rights groups said, "Not only are unfair trials taking place during the death sentence, but torture is also customary," adding, "Even minors are subject to torture." He also said, "There are cases that go against humanity, such as not informing the defendant's family of the execution of the death penalty or not returning the body to the bereaved family." [Joseon Ilbo]