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The Death Penalty and Executions in Saudi Arabia

  • Events
  • 5 Sep 2019

Side Event at UN Human Rights Council 

Thursday, 12th September 2019, at 16:30-17:30 (15:30-16:30 UK), Room IV, Palais de Nations.

Live stream here

On 12th September 2019, we will be hosting a side event at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on the use of the death penalty and illegal executions in Saudi Arabia. The event will consider the alarming rise in state executions in Saudi Arabia and the steps that should be taken by States and the UN Human Rights Council to address this growing trend.

The event will present the findings and recommendations set out in the recently published Report by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC entitled “A Perverse and Ominous Enterprise; The Death Penalty and Illegal Executions in Saudi Arabia”. As recorded in the Report, over 130 persons have already been executed in 2019 with six of those killed being children at the time of their arrest, and at least 24 other detainees are at imminent risk of execution, three of them being children. Many of them are outspoken opponents and critics of the government and human rights defenders. These egregious abuses have been exacerbated by the systematic torture of detainees and grossly unfair trials that have culminated in death sentences being imposed.

The Report has recommended, amongst other actions, that an independent fact finding mission should be sent urgently to get access to those on death row in Saudi Arabia. The panel will discuss the initiatives that should be taken to save those who face being executed, and to reform the Saudi penal system.

Panellists to the event will include:

  • Baroness Janet Whitaker, UK All Party Parliamentary Group on the Abolition of the Death Penalty
  • Senator Marco Perduca, Italian Foreign Affairs, Justice and Human Rights Commitee
  • Rodney Dixon QC, Temple Garden Chambers UK
  • Saul Lehrfreund, Co-Executive Director, The Death Penalty Project

With contributions from:

  • Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Doughty Street Chambers UK
  • Abdullah Al Odah, son of death row prisoner

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