Saudi Arabia has carried out its 100th execution for the year after four people were put to death on Thursday, according to an AFP tally based on official statements.
The latest executions reported by the official Saudi Press Agency come amid fresh condemnation of the kingdom’s human rights record after 81 people were put to death in a single day last week.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s execution of 81 people in one day – on various charges, including terrorism-related offences – exceeded the total of 69 killed in the whole of 2021.
Human Rights Watch said it was ‘highly unlikely’ that the 81 men received fair trials, calling it a ‘brutal show of its autocratic rule’.
More than half of them, 41, belonged to the kingdom’s Shiite Muslim minority ‘who have long suffered systemic discrimination and violence by the government’, the New York-based rights group said.
Saudi Arabia said the men, who included seven Yemenis and one Syrian, belonged either to the Islamic State group, Al-Qaeda, Yemen’s Huthi rebels or ‘other terrorist organisations’.
These are the faces of 31 out of 81 men executed by Saudi Arabia in a single day at the weekend.
Half of those put to death were from the country’s Shia minority region which has seen anti-government demonstrations since the Arab Spring swept through the region in 2011.
Saturday’s mass execution was said by the Riyadh authorities to involve foreign terrorists and people convicted of ‘murdering innocent men, women and children’.
Others killed included prisoners accused of holding ‘deviant beliefs’.
These 31 men were put to death as the result of a bloody clampdown on Shi’ite Muslims from the eastern Qatif region which has historically been a flashpoint between locals and the Sunni-dominated government.
Asaad Makki Al Shub’bar Ali, 37, was arrested while driving his wife to the school where she worked and accused of participating in demonstrations and chanting political slogans as well as being in possession of a picture of a human rights campaigner and joining a terrorist organisation.
According to the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR), his torture included ‘beatings with hands, legs, whips, wire and other instruments throughout his body and face with a focus on the lower back since the investigator knew that he had a back vertebrae injury, as well as beatings in sensitive areas of his body’.
Another executed was Mohammed al-Shakhouri, 27, who was tortured and kept in solitary confinement. Relatives had no contact with him for six months, according to ESOHR.