Additionally, a high percentage of those killed were political dissidents, and individuals tortured into confessions who had been processed through “state security” cases conducted in secret courts, according to Reprieve.
In January alone Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, among them prominent Shia Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, sparking a frosting of relations with regional rival Iran who consequently banned its citizens from travelling to Saudi Arabia to attend this year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca and Medina.
Reprieve also expressed concern regarding Riyadh’s continued practice of jailing, and levelling death sentences at juveniles.
One example is the case of Ali al-Nimr, the nephew of executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
Ali al-Nimr was only 17 years old when he was arrested in 2012 on charges including participating in illegal demonstrations, and “explaining how to give first aid to protestors”.
He has been sentenced to “death by crucixion” and could face his sentence at any time, according to Reprieve.
However, the UK-based Reprieve has called on the UK to not only seek assurances the death sentence will not be carried out but to additionally request that the sentences are quashed and the juveniles released.