Saudi Arabia is preparing to behead a disabled man, Munir Al-Adam, for taking part in an anti-government protest in his home town, Qatif, in 2011 when he was just 18. Al-Adam, along with three juveniles, li Al-Nimr, Dawood Al-Marhoon and Abdullah Al-Zaher were all sentenced to death in the secretive specialised criminal court, for offences related to protests against the Saudi regime. Despite being blind and from a very poor background the Saudi authorities claim that Al-Adam owned a mobile telephone and was using it to organise and coordinate anti-government protests.
Al-Adam, now 23, is blind, and was partially deaf when he was arrested. He is now completely deaf in one ear after being repeatedly tortured by the police in their efforts to extract a confession from him. Al-Adam was involved in an accident at the age of six that resulted in a fractured skull, leaving him with impaired hearing and sight. He has been described by his family as a “kind, simple man who loves fishing” who is innocent of any wrong-doing.
A spokesperson for he human rights organisation, Reprieve, has claimed that:
“Munir Adam’s case illustrates how the Saudi authorities are all too happy to subject the most vulnerable people to the swordsman’s blade. Saudi Arabia’s close allies, including the UK, must urge the kingdom to release Munir, along with juveniles and others who were sentenced to death for protesting. Munir’s bogus confession is the sole piece of evidence presented against him at his trial. He has never been allowed to speak to a lawyer.”
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most prolific executioners, with convictions often resulting from confessions obtained from beatings and torture.
A spokesperson for Amnesty International, Sara Hashan, said that:
“In Saudi Arabia, where people are routinely sentenced to death after grossly unfair trials, we have seen a dramatic surge in the number of executions in the past two years which has shown no sign of abating. This clearly demonstrates that Saudi Arabia’s authorities are increasingly out of step with a global trend of states moving away from the death penalty. Saudi Arabia’s authorities must end their reliance on this cruel, inhuman and degrading form of punishment immediately.”
It is shameful that the UK government and MPs from both of the main political parties continue to ignore and downplay the brutality in which the Saudi authorities treat their citizens, and the war crimes that they have perpetrated in Yemen.
It is time that all arms sales to Saudi Arabia be suspended, and there should be an immediate diplomatic intervention to try and stop the executions of Munir Al-Adam, li Al-Nimr, Dawood Al-Marhoon and Abdullah Al-Zaher.