Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman has previously said the country should review its legal system and limit the death penalty. 81 people have now been executed in the country. Photo / source: NARA & DVIDS Public Domain Archive.


Several organizations condemn mass executions in Saudi Arabia

In mid-March, 81 people were executed in Saudi Arabia, which was the country's largest mass execution in modern times. The UN and several other organizations condemn the country's actions, and believe that it could be a war crime.

It was on March 12 this year that 81 men were executed in Saudi Arabia. According to the National Ministry of the Interior, they executed links to foreign terrorist groups, surveillance of officials and were guilty of riots and chaos. Human Rights Watch believes, however, that the trials were fraught with human rights violations. For example the accused were tortured during interrogation and was forced to confessions. This is something that Amnesty International confirms, and the organization also presses that several of the crimes are such that should not be a crime when freedom of expression prevails. The arbitrariness of the judges is also underlined by the fact that a majority of the convicts belonged to the country's Shia Muslim minority, which has long been discriminated against and persecuted by the Saudi government.

The mass execution of 81 people in Saudi Arabia has led to much criticism. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, believes that the execution may be considered a war crime. Photo: Flickr.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, is also harshly critical of the country. In addition to the fact that the crimes were not serious enough to result in the death penalty, she believes that the execution may be considered a war crime as several of the executed verdicts were linked to the conflict in Yemen. Criticism was also directed at the fact that several relatives of those who were executed did not receive any information that the execution would take place until afterwards.

- We have no idea how and when they were killed, how and where they were buried. I keep wondering, what was my brother's last word? Was he buried according to Shia Muslim rites? Did they pray over his body? says one of the executed brother to Human Rights Watch. 

The UN calls on Saudi Arabia to stop all future executions and to convert existing death sentences into other sentences. 

Share this: