UN rights chief: Saudi executions may amount to war crimes
High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, condemns the recent executions carried out by Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, the UN human rights chief condemned Saudi Arabia for executing a record 81 people in a single day and urged the country to abandon the death sentence.
Michelle Bachelet said that war crimes may have been committed if persons were decapitated after court cases that did not provide adequate assurances of a fair trial.
Saudi authorities have executed on Saturday 81 nationals and residents for allegedly being involved in "terrorism" within the Kingdom.
Saudi media outlets commented on the incident by publishing statements saying that the local authorities "have committed the crime of executing 40 detainees in Al-Qatif in one single day." Riyadh executed 81 men, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national, after they were convicted on charges including "terrorism", as per the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
In a statement, Bachelet said: "I condemn Saudi Arabia's mass execution on Saturday of 81 people on terrorism-related charges," adding that "This risks criminalizing people exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly."
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated: "Our monitoring indicates that some of those executed were sentenced to death following trials that did not meet fair trial and due process guarantees, and for crimes that did not appear to meet the most serious crimes threshold, as required under international law."
"I am also concerned that some of the executions appear to be linked to the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen," she said adding that "Implementation of death sentences following trials that do not offer the required fair trial guarantees is prohibited by international human rights and humanitarian law and may amount to a war crime."
Bachelet called on the Saudi authorities to put an immediate halt to all executions, declare a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, and commute the death sentences of those on death row.
She also urged the Saudi authorities to bring the country's counter-terrorism laws fully into "line with international standards."
Yemen condemns Saudi Arabia's crimes against humanity
The Acting Minister of Human Rights in the Sana'a government, Ali Al-Dailami, said in a statement to Al Mayadeen on Saturday that "Saudi Arabia took advantage of the events in Ukraine to carry out mass executions."
He explained that Saudi Arabia deliberately disregards the lives of Yemenis, and he held both the United States and Saudi Arabia responsible for the crimes against them.
The Acting Minister of Human Rights in the Sana'a government, Ali al-Dailami, told #AlMayadeen: #SaudiArabia deliberately disregards the lives of Yemenis, and we hold both #SaudiArabia the #UnitedStates responsible for the crimes against them.#Yemen https://t.co/XST4PQEqf6— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) March 12, 2022
He stressed that "the Yemeni detainees in Saudi Arabia are illegal immigrants and are subjected to torture in the absence of any defense lawyer."
For his part, the Minister of Information in the Sanaa government, Daifallah Al-Shami, slammed Al Saud's crimes and their mass execution of 81 people, including 41 from Qatif and 7 Yemenis, as "a major crime against humanity."