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Saudi Arabia: Preventive Death Penalty Appeal

, Index number: MDE 23/009/1999

Amnesty International is concerned at the surge in the number of executions in Saudi Arabia in recent months. On 4 October Ali Bin Suhaym Bin Hasan al-Shihri, a Saudi Arabian national, was executed bringing the total number of people put to death in Saudi Arabia so far this year to 91.

PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 23/09/99
UA 259/99 Preventive Death Penalty Appeal 4 October 1999
SAUDI ARABIA
Amnesty International is concerned at the surge in the number of executions in Saudi Arabia in recent months. On 4 October Ali Bin Suhaym Bin Hasan al-Shihri, a
Saudi Arabian national, was executed in Dammam, bringing the total number of people put to death in Saudi Arabia so far this year to 91. In the month of
September alone 19 people were executed, compared with 29 in the whole of 1998.
At least 59 people are known to be currently detained on charges which carry the death penalty, but the real figure may be much higher. Amnesty International
has asked the Saudi Arabian government for details of the 59 people, but has received no information. Executions are not announced in advance, and Amnesty
International therefore fears that some or all of these people may be at risk of imminent execution. (See UA 251/99, MDE 23/08/99, 27 September 1999.)
The organisation is concerned that capital trials in Saudi Arabia do not comply with internationally recognised standards such as the 1984 United Nations
Safeguards guaranteeing the protection of those facing the death penalty and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Trials
are frequently held
in camera
and without legal assistance for the accused. 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 Punishment.
On 1 October a 70-year-old man convicted of murder was reportedly pardoned by the victim’s family three minutes before his execution was to have taken place.
BACKGROUND
Saudi Arabia imposes the death penalty for drug trafficking, murder, rape, armed robbery and apostasy (turning away from Islam). Among the 91 people put to
death so far this year were a number of foreign nationals, including twelve Pakistanis, 10 Nigerians (three of them women), nine Afghans, six Indians, as well as
nationals of Thailand, Indonesia, Syria, Jordan, Ethiopia, Chad and Yemen.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/ airmail letters in English or your own language:
- expressing dismay at the increased use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia in recent months;
- expressing concern that executions are carried out after trials that fall short of international standards, and urging the authorities to follow international
standards for capital trials;
- calling for an immediate halt to all executions and the commutation of all outstanding death sentences;
APPEALS TO:
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
Minister of the Interior
His Royal Highness, Prince Naif bin ‘Abdul-‘Aziz
Minister of the Interior, Ministry of the Interior
PO Box 2833, Airport Road,
Riyadh 11134, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Faxes: + 966 1403 1185 (this is a telephone and fax, please ask to be connected to the fax if a voice answers)
Telexes: 404416
Salutation: Your Royal Highness
Minister of Justice
His Excellency
Dr. Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh
Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telegrams: Justice Minister, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telexes: 405 980 MINJUS SJ
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Information
His Excellency Dr. Fuad Abdul Salam Al-Farsi
Minister of Information, Ministry of Information
PO Box 843, Riyadh 11161,
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telex: 401641 ARINFOR SJ
402640 MINMO SJ
Fax: + 966 1 402 3570/405 0674
Salutation: Your Excellency
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Saudi Arabia accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 15 November 1999.

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