Alarm at Reports That Saudi Arabia is Planning a Mass Execution
(by Mirren Gidda, Newsweek) -- Two Saudi Arabian newspapers have reported that the kingdom is planning to execute more than 50 people convicted of terrorism, prompting alarm from human-rights group Amnesty International. The media outlet Okaz said that 55 people would be put to death for “terrorist crimes” that caused the deaths of 171 people, 100 of them civilians. A report on the Al-Riyadh website, now deleted, put the number sentenced at 52. Neither organization specified when the executions would take place.
Those scheduled for execution include alleged members of Al-Qaeda. According to Okaz (in Arabic) they are accused of plotting to topple the kingdom and attempting to carry out attacks using small arms and surface-to-air missiles.
Other detainees include residents of Awamiya in the country’s oil-rich eastern province, Reuters reports. The town is home to many of Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority and has been the site of protests against the ruling Sunni monarchy and its treatment of Shias. Those sentenced for execution, the BBC reports, have been accused of inciting rebellion and stirring up trouble in neighboring Bahrain. Following the news, people in Awamiya blocked roads with burning rubbish in protest against the punishment.