Saturday, April 2, 2016

Saudi Arabia 'on course to double number of beheadings this year'

Saudi Arabia has already executed 82 people this year and is on course to behead twice as many prisoners as it did in 2015, according to new statistics compiled by a leading human rights organisation likely to raise fresh concerns about the UK's close ties to the Kingdom.

The British government has been urged to do more to put pressure on its Gulf allies to halt the bloodshed in light of the figures, which would see the total death toll in Saudi Arabia reach a record high of more than 320 by the end of the year if the current rate is maintained.

This would be more than double the 158 executions carried out by the Kingdom last year, which was in itself a dramatic rise on the 88 people it beheaded in 2014. The figures were compiled by the UK organisation Reprieve using a combination of official statements from the Saudi government and reliable local media reports.

Earlier this week, the defence secretary Michael Fallon paid a low-key visit to Saudi Arabia to "help strengthen the UK-Saudi defence relationship", meeting Crown Prince Muhammad bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the minister of interior who is in charge of ordering executions. Days later, at least two more prisoners were beheaded.

During his trip Fallon also met Saudi defence minister Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz and other members of the Saudi Royal family. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said he had "reiterated the importance of working together to deal with global threats, including countering the poisonous ideology of Daesh and regional instability"...
 [The Independent /]

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