Saudi Arabia has doubled its use of the death penalty since King Salman came to the throne


Saudi Arabia has doubled its use of the death penalty since King Salman came to the throne, with 800 executions carried out in five years

  • Saudi Arabia has carried out 800 executions under the reign of King Salman 
  • That is double the 423 executions carried out in the country from 2009-14
  • Rights group says rise partially due to no. of people accused of political crimes

Saudi Arabia has doubled its use of the death penalty since King Salman bin Abdulaziz came to the throne five years ago, according to human rights organisation Reprieve. 

800 people have been executed in the kingdom since Salman ascended to the throne in January 23, 2015, following the death of King Abdullah.  

The most recent execution was that of Abdulmohsin Humood Abdullah al-Ghamdi, who was beheaded yesterday for murder, a report by Reprieve said. 

From 2009-14, there were 423 executions in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has doubled its use of the death penalty since King Salman came to the throne five years ago

That figure has doubled in just over five years under King Salman. In 2019, Saudi Arabia executed 186 people, 37 of whom were killed in one mass execution on April 23.  Six of them were men who were juveniles at the time of their alleged offenses. 

Others were killed last year for participating in or inciting political demonstrations or were accused of politically motivated crimes. 

According to Reprieve, which advocates against the death penalty across the globe, the rise in executions is partly due to the number of people accused of politically motivated crimes under King Salman. 

13 juvenile defendants remain on death row in the Kingdom. Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher are at imminent risk of execution.  

Director of Reprieve, Maya Foa, said: ‘For all the rhetoric of reform and modernisation, Saudi Arabia is still a country where speaking out against the King can get you killed. 

‘In the run-up to the G20 summit in Riyadh in November, the Kingdom’s western partners must demand an end to the execution of children and political opponents, otherwise they risk tacitly endorsing these flagrant violations of international law.’ 

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