Number of executions by Saudi Arabia in 2023 topped 100: Report

The number of executions conducted by Saudi Arabia this year has surpassed 100, according to the rights group Amnesty International, which raised concerns that the death penalty is being used in the kingdom in violation of international law.

The number of executions is less than the 196 executions conducted in 2022. However, it is still nearly double the number of state-sanctioned killings conducted in 2021.

“In clear contrast to Saudi Arabia’s repeated promises to limit its use of the death penalty, the Saudi authorities have already executed 100 people this year, revealing their chilling disregard for the right to life,” Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director, said in a statement on Friday.

“The authorities’ relentless killing spree raises serious fears for the lives of young men on death row who were under 18 at the time of the crimes,” Morayef added.

Last year, Saudi Arabia ranked third in the world for the number of executions carried out.

The number of recorded executions tripled from 65 executions in 2021 to 196 in 2022 in the kingdom.

More than 1,000 death sentences have been carried out since King Salman assumed power in 2015, according to a report published earlier this year by British-based Reprieve and the ESOHR.

The Amnesty director noted that in the month of August, the number of executions carried out by the Saudi government was averaging four executions per week.

The sanctioned killings have extended beyond Saudi nationals as well, with the rights group reporting that a Pakistani man was executed over the crime of drug smuggling.

In August, a US citizen was executed after being convicted of torturing and murdering his own father.

While certain crimes still carry the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, rights groups have raised concerns over the high number of executions carried out by the kingdom.

Groups like Amnesty have accused Saudi authorities of executing people in the country following “grossly unfair trials that fell far short of international human rights standards”.

Amnesty International has also stated that using the death penalty for certain crimes, like drug smuggling, is prohibited under international law due to the nature of it not being considered in the category of “most serious crimes”.

Jeed Basyouni, who leads the work in the Middle East and North Africa for the human rights group Reprieve, spoke to Middle East Eye earlier this year and warned of the imminent execution of nine Saudis who were either arrested when they were under 18 years old or were arrested when they were adults but were accused of acts they committed when they were children.

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