Saudis Kill Four People For Pot Possession
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have executed four men for possessing ‘large quantities’ of cannabis, Amnesty International reported this week, adding that the victims were killed after being tortured into making ‘false confessions’.
Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme called the latest state sanctioned killings ‘deeply disturbing ‘ and called on Saudi authorities to ‘act immediately to halt this cruel practice’.
“The death penalty is always wrong,” he said in a statement, “And it is against international law to use it in cases involving non-lethal crimes and where evidence used to convict the person is based on ‘confessions’ extracted as a result of torture.”
Following the men’s killing, Amnesty said they tried to contact relatives for further information only to learn soon after that ‘the family of the four men had received a phone call from Saudi Arabian Ministry’.
“This apparent intimidation and surveillance of victims of human rights violations and activists adds another sinister layer to Saudi Arabia’s use of the death penalty. It is clear evidence that the authorities are willing to go to extreme lengths to prevent reports of gross human rights violations in the country from reaching the outside world,” Mr Boumedouha responded.
“The family in this case deserves full disclosure as to why their loved ones’ allegations of torture were not investigated.”
Amnesty’s complaint came soon after Financial Times International Affairs Editor David Gardner attacked Saudi Arabia for relentlessly promoting Wahhabi absolutism – ‘the corrosive poison that helps fuel religion-based fanaticism’, in particular the extreme intolerance and brutality of Islamic State (aka ISIS).
“Saudi Arabia not only exports oil, but tanker-loads of quasi-totalitarian religious dogma and pipelines of jihadi volunteers,” he wrote, “Even as it struggles to insulate itself from the blowback.” (Guardian )