Saudi Arabia: An upsurge in public executions

In the past year 105 people were publicly executed in Saudi Arabia, the second highest number ever recorded by Amnesty International during a one- year period. There is also concern that the victims were sentenced after unfair trials. There is no bar association, and defence lawyers are not formally present during trials. Furthermore, a defendant may be convicted solely on the basis of a “confession”, possibly obtained under duress, considering that torture and ill-treatment are known to be commonly used against suspects. As well as examining the legal procedures and execution methods, some cases are cited, including that of Sadiq ‘Abdul-Karim Malallah, publicly beheaded on 3 September 1992, after being allegedly tortured in solitary pre-trial detention.

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