HRW report on unfair trials in Saudi Arabia
On 2 June 2023, in a report quoting Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch reported the execution of two Bahraini Shia men following an unfair trial in Saudi Arabia on terror related crimes. Jaafar Sultan and Sadeq Samer were arrested in May 2015 and were held in custody without having any communication. The charges against these men were related to smuggling of explosives into the kingdom and participation in protests in Bahrain. In October 2021 these two Bahrainis were put on trial by the infamous Saudi special criminal court and following charges related to protests which is within the fight against terror act of Saudi Arabia, they were tried and sentenced to death.
The report adds that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the rest of Persian Gulf Cooperation Council members use of the regulations in the fight against terror act to crack down the opposition and target religious minorities. The fight against terror laws in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council usually include charges and wide ranging and ambiguous definitions of terrorism which are used as the main regulations to punish the peaceful opposition, political activists and human rights defenders. The Saudi Muslim Shia minorities have been suffering from systematic discrimination for a long time and are the target of government hate speech. On 12 March 2022, based on the fight against terror act, in spite of promises to reduce executions, Saudi authorities executed 81 men, and it is said that 41 of them were from the Shia minority.
HRW has documented the age old violation of fair trial rights within the Saudi criminal justice system and believes that it is highly doubtful that Sultan and Samer received fair trials and ultimately they executed both of them. HRW is opposed to capital punishment in all countries and under any circumstances, and deems it as a cruel and inhuman punishment.