Before Execution, Condemned Men Make Final Appeal in Interviews with Amnesty International
(NEW YORK) – The execution today of seven men in Saudi Arabia after allegedly being forced to “confess” to charges of armed robbery was an act of sheer brutality, Amnesty International said.
In a trial only lasting several hours, all men were denied legal representation and refused the opportunity to appeal. Saudi Arabian authorities postponed the executions after an international outcry. However, the men were shot by a firing squad Wednesday morning in the city of Abha, in the south of the country.
“We are outraged by the execution of seven men in Saudi Arabia this morning. We oppose the death penalty in all circumstances, but this case has been particularly shocking,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa director at Amnesty International.
“It is a bloody day when a government executes seven people on the grounds of ‘confessions’ obtained under torture, submitted at a trial where they had no legal representation or recourse to appeal,” said Luther. “The death penalty is a violation of a fundamental human right – the right to life – and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, whatever form it takes.”
The seven men were arrested in 2005 and 2006 on charges of armed robbery. All of them reported that they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated while held in custody and forced to “confess” to the alleged crime. They also claimed their relatives were threatened with torture if they withdrew their “confessions.”
Two of the men, Ali bin Muhammad bin Hazam al-Shihri and Sa’id bin Nasser bin Muhammad al-Shahrani, are believed to have been juveniles at the time of the alleged crime.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.