Saudi Arabia executes eight Bangladeshi nationals

Eight Bangladeshi men have been executed in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on Friday.The migrant workers, who were beheaded in public, were sentenced to death for the alleged murder of an Egyptian man in April 2007. Since the end of the Holy month of Ramadan, executions have resumed in Saudi Arabia at an alarming rate. “Court proceedings in Saudi Arabia fall far short of international standards for fair trial and news of these recent multiple executions is deeply disturbing,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa.“The Saudi authorities appear to have increased the number of executions in recent months, a move that puts the country at odds with the worldwide trend against the death penalty.” “The government must establish an immediate moratorium on executions in the Kingdom and commute all death sentences, with a view to abolishing the death penalty completely,” she added.The beheadings bring the number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year to at least 58, more than double than the 2010 figures. Twenty of those executed in 2011 were foreign nationals.The Bangladeshi men who were executed are Ma’mun Abdul Mannan, Faruq Jamal, Sumon Miah, Mohammed Sumon, Shafiq al-Islam, Mas’ud Shamsul Haque, Abu al-Hussain Ahmed, Mutir al-Rahman.According to reports, the Egyptian man was killed during a clash between the Bangladeshi workers and a group of men who allegedly were stealing electric cable from a building complex where the Bangladeshis worked. Three other Bangladeshis were sentenced to prison terms and flogging.Two other Saudi nationals were executed in the northern city of Tabuk, bringing the total number of executions on Friday to ten.Many of those executed in Saudi Arabia in recent years have been foreign nationals, mostly migrant workers from poor and developing countries. Defendants often have no defence lawyer and are unable to follow court proceedings in Arabic. In many cases they are not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them. They, and many of the Saudi Arabians who are executed, also have no access to influential figures such as government authorities or heads of tribes, nor to money, both crucial factors in paying blood money or securing a pardon in murder cases.Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty for a wide range of offences. They may be convicted solely on the basis of confessions obtained under duress or deception. At least 158 people, including 76 foreign nationals, were executed by the Saudi Arabian authorities in 2007. In 2008 some 102 people, including almost 40 foreign nationals, were executed. In 2009, at least 69 people are known to have been executed, including 19 foreign nationals and in 2010, at least 27 people were executed including six foreign nationals.