Last Updated: Friday, 25 July 2014, 11:29 GMT

UN human rights experts outraged at Saudi execution of seven men by firing squad

Publisher UN News Service
Publication Date 13 March 2013
Cite as UN News Service, UN human rights experts outraged at Saudi execution of seven men by firing squad, 13 March 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/51430afc2.html [accessed 25 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Two independent United Nations human rights experts today voiced outrage at the execution by firing squad this morning of seven men in Saudi Arabia, despite repeated calls by the UN and civil society organizations not to carry out the death sentences.

"I deeply regret that Saudi Arabia executed seven individuals today despite my and other experts' appeal not to do so," said the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns.

"I reiterate that any death sentence undertaken in contravention of a State's international obligations is tantamount to an arbitrary execution, and is unlawful."

In an urgent joint appeal yesterday, Mr. Heyns and fellow UN experts called on Saudi authorities to halt the execution of the men, who were allegedly not given fair trials.

According to reports, the men were charged with organizing a criminal group, armed robbery and raiding and breaking into jewellery stores in 2005, and then sentenced to death in 2009.

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, expressed deep concern over allegations that the seven individuals were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in detention, and were forced to sign confessions.

"This is not only in breach of Saudi Arabia's international obligations under international law, which imposes an outright prohibition on torture, it is also in breach of the Government's international obligation under the Convention against Torture that explicitly forbids the use of all forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confessions or acquiring information," he reiterated.

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