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Saudi Arabia: Further information on: risk of execution / legal and torture concern

, N° d'index: MDE 23/006/1996

'Abd al-'Aziz Naser al-Mi'tham, businessman, aged 24, Riyad Suleyman Is-Haq al-Hajri, aged 24, Muslih Ali 'A'idh al-Shamrani, former state employee, aged 28, Khalid Ahmad Ibrahim al-Sa'id, businessman, aged 24 and possibly others: AI is outraged by the execution of the above four men in Riyadh on 31 May 1996. The organization considers their executions to have been summary and arbitrary and a flagrant violation of international human rights standards. They had been shown on television "confessing" to having carried out the bombing of the Saudi Arabian National Guard Centre after having been held in incommunicado detention.

EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 23/06/96
31 May 1996
Further information on EXTRA 80/96 (MDE 23/04/96, 28 May 1996) - Risk of
execution / Legal and Torture Concerns
SAUDI ARABIA'Abd al-'Aziz Naser al-Mi'tham, businessman, aged 24
Riyad Suleyman Is-Haq al-Hajri, aged 24
Muslih Ali 'A'idh al-Shamrani, former state employee, aged 28
Khalid Ahmad Ibrahim al-Sa'id, businessman, aged 24
and possibly others
Amnesty International is outraged by the execution of the above four prisoners
in Riyadh on 31 May 1996. The organization considers their executions to have
been summary and arbitrary and a flagrant violation of international human
rights standards.
As was detailed in the original EXTRA of 28 May, the four victims were shown
on Saudi Arabian television on 22 April "confessing" to having carried out
the bombing of the Saudi Arabian National Guard training centre in Riyadh in
November 1995. On the same day the Minister of Interior, Prince Naif bin 'Abdul
'Aziz, announced that the four would be tried and punished in accordance with
the law, thereby suggesting that the four had not yet been tried. Their execution
followed 40 days later.
Amnesty International, while recognizing the right of states to bring to justice
anyone suspected of a recognizably criminal offence, pointed out to the Saudi
Arabian Government that such prisoners' right to fair trial should not be
compromised under any circumstances. Specifically, Amnesty International had
appealed to the government to withdraw the "confessions" and to ensure the
four had a fair trial in accordance with the 1984 UN Safeguards guaranteeing
the protection of the rights of prisoners facing the death penalty.
The organization also called on President Bill Clinton to clarify the US
Government's position on a statement by the ambassador to Saudi Arabia, reported
by Reuters, in which he appeared to back unfair trial procedures followed in
the case of the four (see original EXTRA).
The execution of the four prisoners in such a short period, 40 days after the
Minister announced that they would be tried, can in no way be considered to
be adequate time to ensure fair trial. Amnesty International does not know
if a trial took place. Further, and as a practice in Saudi Arabia, prisoners
facing the death penalty are invariably denied the right to be defended be
lawyers during trial hearings. Furthermore, confessions in such trials, even
when obtained under torture, are accepted by courts as evidence, and may be
the sole evidence upon which conviction is based.
On the basis of the above evidence, it is Amnesty International's conclusion
that the executions were summary and arbitrary. The organization strongly
condemns the execution of the four, and remains gravely concerned that other
prisoners suspected in connection with the said bombings may be at risk of
such summary and arbitrary execution.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in English, Arabic or in your own language:
to Saudi authorities:
2
- expressing outrage at the execution of 'Abd al-'Aziz Naser al-Mi'tham, Riyad
Suleyman Is-Haq al-Hajri, Muslih Ali 'A'idh al-Shamrani, and Khalid Ahmad
Ibrahim al-Sa'id on 31 May 1996;
- stating the view that these executions were summary and arbitrary and a
flagrant violation of international human rights standards;
- calling on the authorities to take immediate action to ensure that
international safeguards for defendants charged with capital offences are
adhered to in Saudi Arabia;
to President Clinton:
- reiterating calls for clarification on the USA's position on the reported
statement by the ambassador to Saudi Arabia in which he appeared to back the
unfair trial procedure in this case, which has now resulted in the summary
and arbitrary execution of four men;
- calling on the President to publicly condemn these executions.
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 Interior
His Royal Highness
Prince Naif bin ‘Abdul-’Aziz
Ministry of the Interior
PO Box 2833
Airport Road, Riyadh 11134
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telexes: 404416
Salutation: Your Royal Highness
Head of State, USA
President Bill Clinton
Office of the President, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave,
Washington DC 20500
Faxes: +1 202 456 2461
Telegrams: President Clinton, Washington, USA
Telephone: +1 202 456 1414
Telexes: ITT 440074
Salutation: Dear Mr President
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Saudi Arabia and USA accredited to
your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.

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