Saudi Arabia: Death penalty used as political...
Yussuf Ali al-Mushaikass, a father of two, was executed along with three other men, for terror-related offences in connection with their participation in anti-government protests in the Shi’a majority Eastern Province between 2011 and 2012. He was convicted of offences that included “armed rebellion against the ruler”, “destabilizing security and stirring sedition by joining a terrorist group”, “firing at a police station in Awamiyya twice, resulting in the injury of a policeman” and “participating in riots”. Yussuf al-Mushaikass’ family were reportedly not informed of the execution in advance, only finding out about it afterwards when they saw a government statement read on TV.
“These brutal executions are the latest act in the Saudi Arabian authorities’ ongoing persecution of the Shi’a minority. The death penalty is being deployed as a political weapon to punish them for daring to protest against their treatment and to cow others into silence,” said Lynn Maalouf, Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut office.
“Yussuf al-Mushaikass was convicted following a grossly unfair trial which hinged largely on a ‘confession’ obtained through torture. The international community must come down hard on Saudi Arabia to ensure that others currently facing execution after deeply flawed legal proceedings do not meet the same fate. Saudi Arabia should quash their death sentences and establish an official moratorium on executions.”
Amnesty International has documented the cases of at least 34 other Shi’a men currently sentenced to death. All were accused of activities deemed a risk to national security and handed death sentences by the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), a notorious counter-terror tribunal. Amongst those currently on death row are four Saudi Arabian nationals who were convicted of offences committed while teenagers.