Saudi Arabia on Saturday executed 81 men in one day for charges ranging from terrorism to holding “deviant beliefs,” according to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior.
According to a statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), these individuals were convicted of several crimes. This included murdering innocent men, women and children. Some of the crimes alleged to have been committed by the individuals include pleading allegiance to foreign terrorist organizations like the Houthis, ISIS and Al Qaeda, attacking Saudi residents, and travelling to internal conflict zones to join terrorist organizations.
The SPA stated the crimes committed also included “convictions for targeting government personnel and vital economic sites, the killing of law enforcement officers and maiming their bodies, and planting land mines to target police vehicles. Moreover, the convictions include crimes of kidnapping, torture, rape, smuggling arms and bombs into the Kingdom.”
The SPA clarified that the accused individuals were guaranteed their full rights throughout the judicial process, including the right to an attorney. It stated that, “The aforementioned individuals were arrested, tried in Saudi courts, through trials overseen by a total of 13 judges over 3 separate stages of trial for each individual . . . which found them guilty of committing multiple heinous crimes that left a large number of civilians and law enforcement officers dead.”
The single-day number exceeded the total executions carried out in the whole of 2021 and 2020, which were 67 and 27 respectively. The statement by the SPA further added that, “The Kingdom will continue to take a strict and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world.”
The executions have evoked strong reactions from human rights groups. According to the legal-action NGO “Reprieve,” several of these individuals were accused of non-violent crimes such as attending protests and were labelled as “terrorists” by Saudi Arabia.