Barbaric Executions of the Helpless Somalis in Saudi Arabia

Medeshi 15 Oct, 2008
Barbaric Executions of the helpless Somalis in Saudi arabia
Following is an excerpt from the Amnesty International Report on the Barbarism against the poor Somalis and others who don’t have governments to speak for them:
On the morning of 4 April 2005, six young Somali nationals were taken from their prison cells in Jeddah, western Saudi Arabia, and beheaded in public. Announcing the executions, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior stated that the six had been convicted of robberies, and that their executions were ordered in October 2004. The news of the executions shocked the men’s relatives in Somalia and Europe. The relatives were under the impression that the six men, who were arrested in 1999, had been sentenced to five-year prison terms and flogging. The relatives had failed to obtain official confirmation of the sentences, and became increasingly anxious when the expected release date had come and gone and there was still no sign of the men. They approached Amnesty International in 2004 but no further information could be obtained until the announcement of the executions. Amnesty International then learnt that the six prisoners were themselves unaware of the death sentences until the very morning of their executions.

The six had escaped war-torn Somalia in search of a better life only to fall victim to Saudi Arabia’s relentless use of the death penalty. Their families were unable to recover their bodies for burial.

The case of the six Somalis is only one of many to illustrate the stark horror of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. In defiance of a growing international trend towards abolition of the death penalty, and despite Saudi Arabia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council, the country’s authorities continue to apply the death penalty frequently and execute, on average, at least two prisoners each week. The sentences follow a harsh, largely secretive and grossly unfair process that imposes excessive suffering on the condemned and their families. It is a shocking reality. Every year scores of people are executed, often following a conviction for non-violent or vaguely worded offences in summary trials in which they have little or no opportunity to defend themselves and almost no protection against miscarriage of justice.

Under Saudi Arabian law and judicial practices, judges have great discretionary power and can impose a death sentence even on children, for a wide range of offences, including acts that are not considered serious crimes in most other countries. Poor foreign migrant workers, such as the six Somali nationals, comprise a large proportion of those executed. All too often, they receive no legal defence, are unable to follow court proceedings, which are conducted in Arabic, and face insuperable difficulties in mounting legal appeals. Those who are executed are usually beheaded, often in public. Married people, who are convicted of adultery, may be executed by stoning. The dead body is in some cases crucified.

Read full report here : report