Saudi scheduled to execute seven for crimes committed as juveniles

The Arab state is set to execute seven men today, for crimes committed under the age of 18

by The Commentator on 5 March 2013 09:44


The NGOs Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have claimed that Saudi Arabia will today (March 5th) execute seven men for crimes committed when a portion of the group were juveniles.

It is claimed the seven men, from the southern province of Asir, were sentenced to death in 2009 for an armed robbery committed in 2005, when all were aged between 16 and 20. It is thought at least two of the men were under 18 at the time. Sarhan al-Mashayekh, one of the seven men in question, faces execution by crucifixion as ringleader of the group. The six remaining 'offenders' are to face a firing squad.

According to HRW, Saudi Arabia is one of only three countries worldwide known to have executed people in the past two years for crimes committed when they were children.

Under Sharia Law, Saudi judges may treat children as adults in criminal cases, and courts have imposed death sentences on children as young as 13, despite the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which Saudi Arabia ratified in 1996, and which prohibits the death penalty or life sentences without parole for offenses committed under age 18.

The Sabq news agency reported that the seven men were denied legal assistance or the opportunity to defend themselves during their trial.

Futhermore, it is alleged that the confessions were taken under extreme circumstances, with the men claiming to have been severely beaten, denied food and water, deprived of sleep, forced to remain standing for 24 hours and then actively forced to sign their 'confessions'.

According to albawaba news, The kingdom's Interior Ministry is yet to comment on Amnesty's report but has repeatedly said in the past that Saudi Arabia does not practice torture.

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