Saudi Arabia

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The government continued to severely restrict freedoms of expression, association and assembly. The authorities arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned human rights defenders and government critics, including under the 2014 anti-terror law, often after unfair trials. Some of those detained were prisoners of conscience. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common. Unfair trials continued before the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), a special court for hearing terrorism-related cases, with some trials resulting in death sentences. Discrimination against the Shi’a minority remained entrenched; some Shi’a activists were on death row awaiting execution. Women faced discrimination in law and in practice and were inadequately protected against sexual and other violence. Thousands of migrants were summarily expelled, many to countries where they were at risk of serious human rights violations. The authorities used the death penalty extensively and carried out more than 150 executions.

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Death penalty status


Retains the death penalty in law


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