Saudi Opposition Bloc Strongly Condemns Mass Executions

Saudi Opposition Bloc Strongly Condemns Mass Executions

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The execution of over 80 inmates in Saudi Arabia in a single day has sparked widespread outcry from Islamic groups, who say that the majority of the victims were imprisoned only for exercising their right to free expression.

The Arabian Peninsula Opposition bloc, which represents Saudi dissidents, issued a statement on Saturday strongly condemning the kingdom's execution of as many as 81 prisoners in a single day for so-called "terror-related offenses," the largest mass execution carried out by the ultra-conservative Arab kingdom in recent memory.

The latest executions by Saudi authorities in one day exceeded the total number of executions conducted in the Arab kingdom throughout 2021.

The bloc noted that 41 of the executed prisoners belonged to the peaceful al-Hirak al-Janoubi movement and hailed from the Shiite-populated al-Ahsa and Qatif regions in the kingdom’s Eastern Province.

The bloc of Saudi dissidents called the kingdom’s de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman “nothing more than a murderer, who enjoys shedding the blood of the innocent,” saying the mass execution was carried out against young people, who had exercised their right to express their opinion and had been imprisoned as a result.

The bloc added that the ruling Al Saud regime has once more proved to the world that it is a “murderous and savage” regime, adding that the mass execution proved that all of bin Salman’s claims of seeking to introduce reforms are nothing more than “empty propaganda.”

The kingdom’s last mass execution occurred in early January 2016, when Saudi authorities executed 47 people, including prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who had vociferously called for democracy in the kingdom and advocated anti-regime protests. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif, Eastern Province, in 2012.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has reportedly executed more than 900 prisoners in an increasing rate. In 2019 alone, Saudi Arabia set a record number of executions after Saudi authorities executed 184 people, despite a general decrease in the number of executions around the world.

In April 2020, Reprieve, a UK-based non-profit organization, said Saudi Arabia had carried out its 800th execution. The report added that executions had almost doubled in only five years in comparison with the 423 executions conducted in Saudi Arabia from 2009 through 2014.

Saudi- Arabia’s Eastern Province, which is largely populated by the Shiite minority, has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region. The protests have met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

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