[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] called Friday for a halt to executions [press release] in Saudi Arabia [JURIST news archive], claiming there is often a lack of basic procedural due process. AI cited a disturbing increase in executions in 2011, which they claim often rely solely on the basis of confessions obtained under duress or deception. According to AI, in 2011, at least 27 people have already been executed, equal to the total sum of executions in 2010 [AI report]. Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said AI is aware of more than 100 people on death row, many of whom are foreign nationals. Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty to violent, as well as non-violent crimes, such as sorcery and apostasy.
In 2008, AI released a report finding that Saudi Arabia executed more people per capita than any other nation [JURIST reports]. According to that report, at least 1,252 people were put to death in 24 countries, with Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Pakistan and the US accounting for the vast majority of the executions. In July of that year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report criticizing a lack of legal protections [JURIST report] for the 1.5 million migrant domestic workers in Saudi Arabia. Among other proposed reforms, HRW called on the Saudi government to amend the 2005 Labor Law to cover migrant workers.