CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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Riyadh plans mass execution

RIYADH (AsiaNews): Human rights organisations say that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is planning a mass execution of dozens of people in a single day.

The British Broadcasting Corporation reported the Saudi newspaper, Okaz, as saying on November 27 that at least 55 people will be executed for crimes of terrorism. The website of the newspaper, al-Riyadh, also published an article—later removed—saying that 52 executions were imminent.

Those waiting on death row include some Shiite Muslims, who have participated in anti-government protests in the past. 

Human rights advocates point to the increasing number of death sentences carried out this year in the kingdom, warning that the news of a possible mass execution is to be taken extremely seriously.

So far this year, at least 151 people have been executed, the highest number since 1995. Last year the figure was 90.

Saudi media reports say that among those to be executed are al Qaeda terrorists and six people in the area of Awamiya, a city of Qatif region, an area rich in oil in the eastern province, convicted of rebellion, attacks on security personnel and interference in neighbouring Bahrain

Human Rights organisations stress that the Saudi government uses the charges of terrorism and rebellion to stifle political dissent and internal problems with minorities. 

In recent days, the mothers of five of the six young people in the city waiting to be executed, wrote a letter to the king, Salman, in which they asked the monarch to pardon their children.

The death penalty in the kingdom is dealt out to perpetrators of murder, armed robbery, rape and drug trafficking, but also witchcraft and sodomy.

Sentences for minor crimes, such as petty theft and expressing an opinion, can involve the cutting off of a hand or foot, in addition to public flogging. 

 

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