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(Beirut) – Saudi officials Execution Husayn Abu al-Khair, a Jordan Citizen, after pleading guilty to a nonviolent drug offense on March 12, 2023, Human Rights Watch said today. The judge ignored his allegations that he had confessed only after several days of torture and ill-treatment.

In January 2015, a Saudi court convicted Abu al-Khair was convicted of attempting to smuggle amphetamine pills into Saudi Arabia and was later sentenced to death. Under international law, the death penalty should only be imposed for the “most serious crimes” and in exceptional circumstances, and international law explicitly excludes drug offenses from such punishment.

“Despite Saudi promises to limit the use of the death penalty, authorities carry out executions at an alarming rate,” said joey shea, Saudi Arabia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Going ahead with Abu al-Khair’s execution just a day after a senior UK government official explicitly raised the matter shows the Saudi authorities’ shocking disregard for human rights and their tyrannical impunity.”

Saudi authorities did not inform Abu al-Khair’s family members before his execution, nor did they allow them to speak to him and say a final goodbye, said the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, which Abu al-Khair Is in touch with the family. Human Rights Watch said that Abu al-Khair’s body should be immediately returned to his family to allow for a proper burial.

According to court documents reviewed by Human Rights Watch, Abu al-Khair was Arrested On 18 May 2014, he was crossing the border by car between Aqaba in southern Jordan to Tabuk in northwestern Saudi Arabia. Saudi border guards searched Abu al-Khair’s car and found three bags with more than 200,000 amphetamine tablets in the fuel tank. A family member who spoke to Human Rights Watch said that Abu al-Khair told family members that he denied trafficking drugs.

The family member also said she alleged that she signed the confession only after officers had beaten and tortured her for 12 days, which included hanging her upside down by her ankles and beating her with a baton. The verdict of the trial stated that Abu al-Khayr later retracted his confession in court, stating that it was only “the words of the investigator”. The judge accepted the original confession as evidence and sentenced Abu al-Khair to death in January 2015. The family member said that Abu al-Khair did not have access to a lawyer before or during the trial.

A spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office Said The Middle East reported that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, Lord Ahmed, raised the matter of Abu al-Khair with Saudi officials at ministerial level “at the latest by 11 March”. The day before al-Khair’s execution.

Abu al-Khair’s execution comes Exactly one year after Saudi authorities executed 81 people on March 12, 2022, the country’s largest mass execution in years Promises To Reduce use of the death penalty. Saudi activists told Human Rights Watch that 41 men were from the country’s Shia Muslim minority community, which have long faced systemic discrimination and violence by the government. Human Rights Watch has Document out of control and organized abuse Saudi Arabian criminal justice System This makes it highly unlikely that the defendants, including Abu al-Khair, will receive a fair trial.

United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found Abu al-Khair’s detention was arbitrary and without legal basis and other rights groups, along with others, called for his release. In November 2022, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will also called on Saudi Arabia to immediately release Abu al-Khair and halt plans for his execution.

International standards, including the Arab Charter on Human Rights ratified by Saudi Arabia, require countries to use the death penalty only for “the most serious crimes” and in exceptional circumstances. issued by the OHCHR statement The death penalty at an alarming rate after Saudi Arabia ends a 21-month informal moratorium on the use of the death penalty for drug-related crimes in November 2022.

Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all countries and under all circumstances. The death penalty is unique in its brutality and finality, and it is inevitably and universally prone to arbitrariness, bias, and error.

“The latest example of abuse resulting from Saudi Arabia’s arbitrary and brutal criminal justice system should give pause to countries, businesses and celebrities who are doing business with the country despite its human rights record,” Shia said.

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