PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 23/002/2009
23 January 2009
UA 20/09 Death Penalty/ Fear of imminent execution
SAUDI ARABIA Ayadh Mana’ Wanas Matar (m), aged 37 ]
Hussein Baida Abud (m), aged 23 ] Iraqi nationals
Adnan Jamil (m), aged 25 ]
Mahmoud Shekar (m), aged 42 ]
Khaled Mitan (m), aged 25 ]
At least 10 others ]
The men named above are among at least 15 Iraqi nationals feared to be at imminent risk of execution. They
have all been sentenced to death for various charges ranging from ones relating to drugs, connection with
armed groups in Iraq and smuggling of weapons into Saudi Arabia. All are detained in Rafha prison, in the
north of Saudi Arabia, near the border with Iraq.
One of the men, Ayadh Mana’ Wanas Matar, was arrested in November 2004 on a drug-related charge. He
was interrogated for three months, during which he was allegedly tortured and forced to confess to the charge.
The torture apparently included him being beaten on the soles of his feet and all over his body. He was
sentenced to death in July 2008 by a criminal court in Rafha. Ayadh Mana’ Wanas Matar had no lawyer
during his trial proceedings, which were secret and summary.
Like Ayadh Mana’ Wanas Matar, all the other Iraqi nationals were beaten until they confessed, and all claim
that they are innocent. None of the 15 has been allowed access to lawyers since their arrests. Prisoners in
Saudi Arabia may be put to death without a scheduled date for execution being made known to them or their
families. Therefore, the 15 could be executed at any time.
Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty for a wide range of offences. Court proceedings fall far short of
international standards for fair trial. Defendants are rarely allowed formal representation by a lawyer, and in
many cases are not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them. They may be convicted solely
on the basis of confessions obtained under duress or deception.
In a recent report on the use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International highlighted the
extensive use of the death penalty as well as the disproportionately high number of executions of foreign
nationals from developing countries. For further information please see Saudi Arabia: Affront to Justice: Death
Penalty in Saudi Arabia (Index: MDE 23/027/2008), issued on 14 October 2008:
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Arabic and English or your
- urging the King, as the head of the Supreme Judicial Council, to halt the execution of Ayadh Mana’ Wanas
Matar, Hussein Baida Abud, Adnan Jamil, Mahmoud Shekar, Khaled Mitan and at least 10 other Iraqi
nationals in Rafha prison;
- calling on the King to commute their death sentences and those of all others under sentence of death in
Saudi Arabia as a matter of urgency, with a view to abolishing the death penalty.