Saudi Arabia – In the first six months of 2016 Saudi Arabia has slated 100 executions. If the country continues at this pace they’ll beat their record that was just set last year.
The Saudis have already carried out 95 executions as of this past Sunday and now 14 more are set to be killed after their convictions on terrorism charges.
The 14 Saudi citizens convicted of terrorism hail from the Eastern province, which has been the site of several uprisings and protests by the Shiite minority community over the past few years. The 14 have been in custody for around four years (since protests in 2011) and have a host of other charges leveled against them that makes the terrorism convictions seem questionable. According to Saudi media the 14 have also been convicted of charges ranging from armed robberies and drug peddling.
The executions will bring Saudi Arabia to a total of 109 in the first six months this year.The record was set last year with a total of 157 executions, the most executions in a year since 1995 according to Amnesty International. These executions are often ordered after show trials in an Islamic court and carried out with only the most brutal methods.
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Westerners may react viscerally to video of beheadings by the Islamic State and pictures of deaths by stoning in countries such as Iran but these are also the preferred methods of execution used by the Saudi government. The Saudis are currently locked in a price war on oil with other OPEC nations and are on of the United States’ closest allies. If the West is truly committed to fighting discrimination and human rights abuses then the close ties to Saudi Arabia will need to come under scrutiny, sooner rather than later.
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.