Riyadh (GPA) – Saudi Arabia carried out their 100th execution this year, with 60 of them happening in the past three months.
As the western media spent the past week celebrating the news that Saudi Arabia is preparing to lift their ban on women driving, the Gulf Kingdom was hard at work committing other more heinous human rights abuses. In fact, the western media has maintained their usual silence all year as Saudi Arabia has been busy executing an average of five people per week.
The Saudis have been keeping this pace for several weeks now, leading up to Monday’s execution of 6 people. One of these people marked the 100th execution so far this year, which could put them on track to pass their 2015 record of 158 executions (they hit 153 in 2016).
These six executions also marked the most prisoners killed in a single day this year. The six people killed Monday included one Pakistani man accused of drug trafficking and five Saudi nationals charged with homicide. These charges highlight the range of crimes that are punishable by death in the capital punishment capital of the world.
These charges highlight the range of crimes that are punishable by death in the capital punishment capital of the world. Saudi Arabia keeps these high execution rates by punishing crimes such as rape (victims), armed robbery and “terrorism.”
Even those convicted of more serious crimes, such as murder, are pitted against a notoriously unjust Saudi court system. This has recently been seen in the case of US citizen Robert Slaten, who was accused of killing his wife based on the testimony of a child who wasn’t present during the time the crime is said to have taken place.
Many convictions in Saudi Arabia are also based on “confessions” obtained through interrogations that almost the entire world acknowledges are actually torture sessions. There are even cases where convicted people have been executed even after the same courts that sentenced them stated that there was insufficient evidence.
Another crime punishable by death in Saudi Arabia is apostasy (as in any criticism of the Saudi family), which often blends with terror charges, which can be slapped on people for things such as “leading a demonstration” and “defying the ruler.” Such was the case with the Shia cleric Nimr Al-Nimr, who was killed for speaking out against the Saudi regime at a time of political convenience during heightening tensions between Riyadh and Tehran.
And speaking of Iran (the country that is constantly bashed by Trump regime and eternal foe of the Saudis), it is important to note that while Saudi Arabia is busy carrying out this execution spree, the Iranian government is busy changing laws to sentence fewer people to death. Iran is also pursuing new solutions to complex problems, like their own opiate epidemic that was partly fueled by the US invasion of neighboring Afghanistan.
Saudi Arabia has such a horrible record on foreign policy sometimes it is easy to for people to forget that they are also cruel to their own people, or anyone who happens to end up in their country. The Saudis also maintain a tight media censorship regime that keeps almost all opposition voices from reaching a global audience; which strangely never comes up when the US criticizes countries like China and Russia over alleged internet censorship.
It is clear that Saudi Arabia has no intention of slowing down their crimes, both at home and abroad, but every day the global community is applying more pressure. Now, with even the UN breathing down their neck, the Saud family is finally beginning to feel the weight of decades of their criminal rule bearing down on them.
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.