Earlier this month, 4 members of Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a community, one of which is understood to have been a juvenile when sentenced, were executed.
In light of these executions, the APPG is concerned about the further members of Saudi’s Shi’a community – 14 at least – whose death sentences have recently been upheld.
While waiting for further information, we believe these individuals are at risk of imminent execution. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report that most of those sentenced to death have been held in solitary confinement without access to families and lawyers for the last two years. Most of them, including those sentenced to death on ‘protest-related’ crimes were rounded up after the 2011 and 2012 protests in the anti-government protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.
We are concerned to learn from colleagues on the ground that some of the Shi’a community members rounded up after the protests, of which some are elderly or disabled, had not in fact been involved in the protests, and are now facing potential execution.
We are particularly concerned that charges of ‘terrorism’ and ‘endangering national security’ are being used, in violation of international law, to justify the execution of those manifesting their right to freedom of expression.
Jim Shannon MP
Chair, APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief
Co-chair, APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief