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Rights group criticizes Kuwait over executions

Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] criticized [press release] the government of Kuwait on Monday for executing three men convicted of murder. The three men, a Saudi national, a Pakistani national and a stateless Bidun [JURIST report] man, were convicted on separate murder charges before being hanged outside the Central Prison on Monday. This marks the first execution in Kuwait since 2007 when a Pakistani man was executed on drug charges. AI has sternly opposed the use of the death penalty in all cases. Ann Harrison, AI's Deputy Programme Director for the Middle East and North Africa, stated that "[i]n a region where executions are sadly all too commonplace, Kuwait marked a beacon of hope by declining to execute people for almost six years. That hope has been extinguished today. We deplore this resumption of executions, regardless of the crime." Official photographs were taken and journalists were invited to witness the executions. Kuwait currently has 44 people on death row. According to AI, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq account for 99 percent of the reported executions in the region.

The high execution rate in the Middle East and North African region has remained under international scrutiny. In March Maryland abolished death penalty [JURIST report] within its borders in a 82-56 vote. A month earlier, the UN SG reiterated his call for global support against the use of death penalty. Also that month, two UN human rights experts expressed concern over the death sentence [JURIST reports] imposed by the International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICBT) on Abdul Kalam Azad for crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. The experts argued that the trial failed to provide for guarantees of a fair trial and due process. In March AI reported [PDF, press release] that seven men, two of which are thought to be juveniles, were publicly executed in Saudi Arabia. Yemen has executed [JURIST report] at least 15 men and women under the age of 18 since 2007. In 2012, Iran executed [JURIST report] 10 men in October, and four members [JURIST report] of the Ahwazi Arab minority in June.

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