Saudis behead 50 in first ten days of 2016

Saudi Arabia executes Ethiopian woman on questionable charges, but UN Human Rights Council chair already falling short of its 2015 record.

Ari Yashar,

Beheading (illustrative)
Beheading (illustrative)
Reuters

Saudi Arabia, chair of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), conducted its 50th execution of the year Sunday marking a rapid killing spree - however, the Gulf state will have to hurry to catch up to its 2015 quick start, in which it executed 100 people in just 15 days.

On Sunday, Jinat Farid from Ethiopia was executed for allegedly murdering a Saudi woman named Ghalia Eida al-Harithi with an axe, according to the Saudi interior ministry, as reported by the state-run SPA news agency and cited by AFP.

Saudi authorities claimed Farid hit al-Harithi repeatedly with the axe as she knelt in Muslim prayers, and afterwards stole two gold rings and money - although the authorities could not specify how much money they accused Farid of stealing.

The case further raises concerns that those being executed by Saudi Arabia - most of them via beheading with a sword by career executioners - are given a kangaroo trial before being summarily killed. Some have even been beheaded for "sorcery."

Saudi Arabia's killing spree of 2016 was kickstarted on January 2, when 47 men convicted of "terrorism" were killed, including those who were claimed to be linked with Al Qaeda.

Among the 47 was the prominent Shi'ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was accused of involvement in Al Qaeda attacks, and whose death has caused a huge diplomatic row with Iran - Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran have long been bitter rivals. Those tensions rose further when Saudi Arabia accidentally bombed an Iranian embassy in Yemen as part of its airstrike campaign.

The Saudi execution tally for 2015 stood at 153 people, up from 87 in 2014, according to AFP. Amnesty International has revealed the 2015 total was the highest since 1995, when a record 192 were killed.

Those numbers are still far behind China and Iran, which is the leading state sponsor of terror.

London-based Amnesty has said the death penalty in anything but the "most serious crimes," such as premeditated killings, violates international law.

The human rights group has also slammed Saudi judicial proceedings for falling "far short" of global norms of fairness.




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