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European Parliament Condemns Human Rights Violations and Death Penalty in Saudi Arabia

Together for Justice welcomed the position of the European Parliament on human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, after voting with a vast majority in favor of a resolution condemning these crimes and calling for decisions to put an end to it. The organization welcomed this honorable position of the Parliament members.

The European Parliament had adopted (by 661 votes to 3, and 23 abstentions) a resolution strongly condemning the ongoing human rights violations and executions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia following the execution of Mustafa Hashim Al-Darwish, who was a minor when the crimes he was accused of were committed, and for which he was convicted of death in a trial based on confessions made under torture.

MEPs called on Saudi Arabia to stop executing all other minor defendants in the kingdom, or those who committed crimes when they were children, such as detainee Abdullah Al-Huwaiti. The resolution also urged the Saudi authorities to abolish the death penalty.

The resolution highlighted that the current number of people facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia is more than 40, including critics and peaceful opponents such as the preacher Salman Al-Odah and researcher Hassan Al-Maliki, pointing out that the Public Prosecution still insists on demanding death sentence against them.

It is worth noting that Saudi Arabia had for several years occupied a top rank in countries that use the death penalty in the world. In 2020, a significant decrease in the application of the death penalty was witnessed, yet the European Parliament’s decision indicates that the total number of executions carried out so far in 2021, is 32, exceeding last year’s total.

The resolution also strongly supported the idea of imposing sanctions by the European Union on Saudi officials responsible for grave violations of human rights inside the Kingdom, as MEPs said that all EU exports of mass surveillance technology and other materials used by Saudi Arabia to commit grave violations should be suspended.

The resolution also highlighted the case of Saudi Sakharov Prize-winning detainee Raif Badawi, who has been detained for nine years, as MEPs called on the European Union and the international community to work for his immediate release.

The resolution urged the European Union and member states to take several measures to hold the Saudi regime accountable for its human rights violations, by activating several mechanisms such as the Saudi-European human rights dialogue, support for international human rights sanctions regulations, and support for any step taken by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

MEPs lamented what they described as the EU’s “shy approach” in the past to public diplomacy on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

This decision is a positive step that proves that the Saudi regime’s attempts to whitewash its horrific record of human rights and its efforts to cover up its brutal crimes could not be achieved, and that victory is for rights and freedoms.

We affirm that such decisions would put an end to the violations of the Saudi regime and send it a message that respect for human rights and the promotion of democracy and freedom will always be an obstacle for their integration within the international community, which has not yet forgotten the murder of Khashoggi and ongoing damage of Yemen.

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