PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 23/19/99
UA 298/99 Preventative Death Penalty Action 15 November 1999
The execution of a Saudi Arabian national in Riyadh on 10 November 1999, brings
the total number of executions this year to 102.
Amnesty International believes that dozens more prisoners may be at risk of
imminent execution. Although the organization has asked the authorities for
details of over 50 such people it has not received a response.
People are sentenced to death after trials which fall far short of
internationally recognized standards, including Article 14 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which states that “everyone
shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent
and impartial tribunal established by law”, and resolution 1984/50 adopted
by the Economic and Social Council, on the Safeguards guaranteeing the
protection of those facing the death penalty.
Prisoners are often tried in camera and without legal assistance. Confessions
obtained under torture are sometimes admitted in court, despite Saudi Arabia’s
accession in 1997 to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
This Urgent Action is the last in a series of weekly preventative death penalty
actions issued in the past few weeks. Amnesty International would like to thank
all those who have taken part.
Crimes punishable by death in Saudi Arabia include drug trafficking, murder,
rape, armed robbery and apostasy (turning away from Islam). Of the 102 people
executed this year, 53 have been foreign nationals, including 15 Pakistanis,
10 Nigerians (three of them women), nine Afghans, six Indians, as well as
nationals of Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Syria, Jordan, Ethiopia,
Chad and Yemen.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English or your own language:
- expressing dismay at the continued use of the death penalty and calling for
an immediate halt to executions and the commutation of all outstanding death
- expressing concern that executions are carried out after trials which fall
short of international standards, and urging the authorities to follow
international standards for capital trials;
- calling for details and clarification of the legal position of all those
on death row.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines
His Majesty King Fahd bin ‘Abdul-‘Aziz
Office of H.M. The King
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telegrams:King Fahd, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Salutation: Your Majesty