By Latheef Farook
Saudi Arabia, the most despotic regime in the world ,has executed 81 people in one day on 12 March 2022 while world’s attention remained focused on Russia’s war on Ukraine. Their so called crimes include terrorism, kidnapping, rape and membership of a terrorist organization like the Islamic State group (IS).
This is sheer barbarism and nothing to do with Islam and Islamic justice. It only helps distort and demonize Islam to suit the anti-Muslim agenda of US led west,
Saudi Arabia’s human rights records have been under increased scrutiny from rights groups since the massacre of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. In fact U.S. intelligence agencies believe the crown prince also ordered the slaying and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, while overseeing airstrikes in Yemen that killed hundreds of civilians.
Condemning the execution United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged Riyadh to stop using the death penalty. She said war crimes may have been committed if people were beheaded, following court cases that did not offer proper fair trial guarantees.
Michelle Bachelet said that among those beheaded, 41 belonged to the Shia minority and had taken part in anti-government protests in 2011-2012. A further seven were Yemenis and one was a Syrian national.
“Our monitoring indicates that some of those executed following trials that did not meet fair trial and due process guarantees, and for crimes that did not appear to meet the most serious crimes threshold, as required under international law. I am also concerned that some of the executions appear to be linked to the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen, Bachelet said.
“Implementation of death sentences following trials that do not offer the required fair trial guarantees is prohibited by international human rights and humanitarian law and may amount to a war crime.”
“I call on the Saudi authorities to halt all executions, immediately establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, and commute the death sentences against those on death row,” Bachelet said. She also urge the Saudi authorities to bring the country’s counter-terrorism laws fully into line with international standards.
London based human rights group Reprieve stated that it fears for prisoners of conscience, including individuals arrested as children, on Saudi death row.
“The world should know by now that when Mohammed bin Salman promises reform, bloodshed is bound to follow,” said Soraya Bauwens, the deputy director of Reprieve.
Ali Adubusi, the director of the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, alleged that some of those executed had been tortured and faced trials “carried out in secret.”
“These executions are the opposite of justice,” he said.
This is not the first mass execution since Mohammed bin Salman became de facto leader of the kingdom. In 2019, 37 detainees, most of them from the country’s Shia minority, were executed for alleged “terrorism”.
Activists, including Ali al-Ahmed of the U.S.-based Institute for Gulf Affairs, and the group Democracy for the Arab World Now said they believe that over three dozen of those executed also were Shiites. Shiites, who live primarily in the kingdom’s oil-rich east, have long complained of being treated as second-class citizens. Executions of Shiites in the past have stirred regional unrest.
Since taking power, Crown Prince Salman has increasingly westernized life in the kingdom in violation of Islamic principles.
The executions were announced a day after the release of Saudi blogger and human rights activist Raif Badawi, who had been sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years’ prison on charges of insulting Islam.
But Badawi, who received only 50 lashes before the punishment was halted following global condemnation, is now subject to a 10-year travel ban. It means the 38-year-old is unable to rejoin his wife Ensaf Haidar and their three children in Canada, where they fled following his arrest.
Not many countries including the so called champions of human rights in US and Europe condemned these executions. Only France deplored.
Muslim countries did not condemn the execution as they cannot afford to antagonize Saudi Arabia in view of its control over holy places where Muslims go for their annual Haj pilgrimage and Umra, lessor pilgrimage, its oil wealth and the support the regime enjoys from US and Europe.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has condemned “West’s silence”.
Installed in power in the aftermath of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the World War 1 in the 1920s by the British Imperial Power and Zionist who were then plotting to set up Israel in Palestine, Saudi’s autocratic tribal regime has been protected by US and Europe.
For example, despite allegations of Salman slaughtering Jamal Khashoggi alive, former US President Donald Trump signed a 100 billion dollar weapons deal which is more important to US than protecting human rights in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi regime collaborate with US- European- Israel wars against Muslim countries and maintains close ties with Israel.
It has no feeling for sufferings Muslims worldwide. How much money Saudis gave Syrian refugees whose children are eating grass in the height of winter while Afghans are dying due to lack of food caused by US refusal to release around ten billion dollar Afghan money in US?
The concept of royal family and the tribal system, which enjoys sole monopoly over power, wealth and everything in the country is alien to Islam.
Disclaimer: Salman’s execution of 81 people in one day
Sheer barbarism distorting and demonising Islam - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view