Saudi Arabia Beheads 12 People in 10 Days 'While Global Attention Focused on World Cup' in Qatar

According to Reprieve, three Pakistani, four Syrian, two Jordanian, and three Saudi men were among those executed.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of using the Qatar World Cup as a distraction to behead 12 people over the past 14 days, despite making a pledge not to use this kind of execution. The defendants were imprisoned for non-violent drug offenses before receiving a death sentence in the form of a beheading, according to the human rights organization Reprieve.

Despite the country's implementation of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty for non-violent crimes in 2021, the recent executions were carried out as punishments for non-violent offenses. This comes as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia was seen sitting next to Gianni Infantino during the World Cup opening ceremony on Sunday.

Brutal Death Penalty

How Mohammed bin Salman is revolutionizing Saudi Arabia
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Human Rights charity Reprieve warned that the number of executions could climb as more such defendants of drug offenses are awaiting the death penalty in Saudi Arabian prisons. The non-profit organization that compiled information on this week's executions claims that the majority of the defendants were beheaded using swords.

According to Reprieve, three Pakistani, four Syrian, two Jordanian, and three Saudi men were among those executed. The NGO stated that a second Jordanian man had apparently been moved to a jail wing and was scheduled for execution on Friday.

the-fifa-world-cup-qatar-2022

The organization's director Maya Foa has warned how the death tally could soon increase to 13.

They drew attention to the situation of Saudi prisoner and taxi driver Hussein Abo al-Kheir, who is scheduled to be executed.

"While Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was putting himself center stage at the World Cup opening ceremony, seated next to Fifa supremo Gianni Infantino, taxi driver Hussein Abo al-Kheir was cowering in a cell, terrified that the executioner will take him next," Foa said.

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia Pixabay

"While all eyes are on the football, Saudi Arabia is carrying out a horrifying execution spree, killing people like Hussein, an innocent man who was tortured by Saudi police to 'confess'.

"Saudi Arabia executed more people than ever before in the first six months of this year, and has now begun executing drug offenders, in large numbers and in secret, as the world focuses on its neighbor."

Complete Human Rights Violation

The taxi driver's sister last year asked former England star Alan Shearer for help. Following the Saudi ownership of his old team, Newcastle United, Zeinab Abo al-Kheir wrote to the TV analyst and asked him to " listen to the evidence about human rights abuses" in the desert nation.

FIFA World Cup trophy
FIFA World Cup Twitter

Hussein, her brother and a father of eight, received a death sentence after having amphetamine pills discovered concealed in his gasoline tank at a border checkpoint.

However, activists contend that he confessed while being tortured and that the narcotics were hidden in his car when it was parked outside of his Jordanian home.

"Qatar has rightly been criticized for its human rights record but its abuses pale in comparison to the Gulf megastate next door. The Kingdom's international partners must act now, to save Hussein and stop the bloodshed," Foa said.

Mohammed bin Salman and Gianni Infantino
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia was seen sitting next to Gianni Infantino during the World Cup opening ceremony on Sunday Twitter

Hussein's death, if carried out, would mark the 13th beheading after those of Pakistanis Syrians, Jordanians, and Saudis. According to the most recent data, at least 132 people have been put to death in Saudi Arabia so far this year, which is more than the country executed in both 2020 and 2021 combined.

In 2018, Crown Prince bin Salman stated that his government sought to "minimize" the use of the death penalty and only carry it out in cases of murder or manslaughter.

Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist for the Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia proposed changing the legislation to abolish the death penalty for drug offenses and other non-violent crimes.

The prince, however, has in the past reversed course on other police, such as those supporting women's rights. He has loosened limitations on women in the staunchly conservative country, allowing them to serve in the military among other things, but he is also responsible for the imprisonment of advocates for women's rights.

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