Saudi Arabia must immediately stop the death penalty against minors

Press release
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On the occasion of the International Children’s Day, celebrated every year on 20 November, the European Saudi Organization for Human rights (ESOHR) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) publish a briefing about the application of the death penalty on minors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

This briefing provides an analysis of the legal framework in Saudi Arabia as it applies to minors, and briefly examines the number of children executed over the course of the reign of King Salman (14 minors according to ESOHR’s research). The briefing explains why the authorities cont to allow the execution of children despite Saudi pledges on the international level to the contrary, and recent legal reforms such as the new 2018 Juvenile Law.

“The death penalty in Saudi Arabia still threatens minors despite promises and propaganda made by the government over the past two years. The Juvenile Law still allows sentences by Qisas and Hodood against minors. In addition, there are still concerns that the Saudi government is manipulating the ages of individuals. Besides affording minors all the guarantees necessary for a fair trial, it must be ensured that no minor is threatened with the death penalty under any pretext.”

Ali AlDebusi, the director of ESOHR

The majority of the minors who have been executed were convicted on charges related to political offences. In every case, ESOHR was able to verify that the minors confessed to the crimes they were accused of under torture.

“Saudi Arabia must immediately uphold its pledge to end the implementation of the death penalty on persons whose crimes were committed when they were legal minors.”

Alice Mogwe, the President of FIDH

The briefing also present two case studies: one of a recent execution, then an additional case of a child facing the death penalty.

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