The Saudi Government’s refusal to provide official figures, and the opaque nature of the country’s justice system, makes it hard to produce a definitive picture of the Saudi death row population. However, a study made by Reprieve has been able to identify the alleged offences of 57 of the 171 people thought to be currently facing execution. Of that 57, only 28% have been sentenced to death for alleged violent crimes. The remaining 72% received their death sentences for alleged non-violent offences, consisting of drug offences and political protest.
- 72% of those facing execution in Saudi Arabia were sentenced to death for non-violent offences, including attendance at political protests and drug offences.
- 69% of those executed in the past year had been sentenced to death for non-violent offences.
- Among those facing execution are prisoners who were sentenced to death as children, such as Ali Mohammed al-Nimr and Dawoud Hussain al-Marhoon.
- The use of torture to extract ‘confessions’ is widespread – Reprieve has identified specific cases where prisoners have been beaten to the point of suffering broken bones and teeth.
- Execution methods include beheading, stoning, and beheading combined with ‘crucifixion’.
Saudi Arabia’s capital punishment system flouts international law and human rights principles at the very moment when a Saudi diplomat has been appointed to head a key UN Human Rights Council.