134 people executed in Saudi Arabia this year alone, UN report reveals

Victoria Bell
Mohammed bin Salman, as Saudi Arabia Crown Prince, at the G-20 summit, Osaka, Japan, graphic element on gray
The figures emphasised the systematic torture of detainees and grossly unfair trials culminating in death sentences in the country despite Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's pledge to reduce the use of the death penalty. (Getty)

134 people have been executed this year alone in Saudi Arabia, with six of those killed being children at the time of their arrest, according to a shocking report.

The figures, revealed at at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, emphasised the systematic torture of detainees and grossly unfair trials culminating in death sentences in the country, despite Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's pledge to reduce the use of the death penalty.

Presented by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, at an event hosted by international legal action charity The Death Penalty Project, the report said: ‘So far this year, the authorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are known to have carried out at least 134 executions.

At least 24 are at imminent risk of execution, three of them children.

The report urges world leaders to boycott Saudi Arabia's turn to host the G20 Summit next year.

The square where public executions are performed.
The square in Saudi Arabia, where public executions are performed. (Getty)

"Of these, 37 were political activists killed en masse on 23 April 2019 following lengthy periods of detention in solitary confinement, subjection to torture, and grossly unfair trials.”

SRINAGAR, JAMMU AND KASHMIR, INDIA - 2019/04/28: Kashmiri Shia Muslims seen lighting candles during a protest in Srinagar. Shia protesters held a candle light vigil in Srinagar against the mass execution of 37 individuals in Saudi Arabia. According to Saudi Press Agency, those executed were accused of "forming a terrorist cell" and attacking a security outpost, killing a number of officers. (Photo by Idrees Abbas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Kashmiri Shia Muslims seen lighting candles during a protest in Srinagar. Shia protesters held a candle light vigil in Srinagar against the mass execution of 37 individuals in Saudi Arabia. (Getty Images)

In 2018, the country killed 149 people, with 46 left on death row by the end of the year.

The project says that 24 people are ‘at imminent risk of execution’, with prominent political figures, clerics and human rights defenders on the list.

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According to Baroness Helena Kennedy's report many of the 46 have now been killed as the country's recourse to executions has 'intensified alarmingly' in recent months.

Sentencing someone under the age of 18 to death is illegal under international law.

Baroness Kennedy said: "I have been very concerned about the way in which Jamal Khashoggi’s murder is being presented to the world as being some sort of rogue activity and not part of systemic human rights abuses inside Saudi Arabia.

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2014 file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain. A Turkish newspaper says in his final words, slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi urged his killers not to cover his mouth because he suffered from asthma and could suffocate. The Sabah newspaper on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 published new excerpts of a recording of Khashoggi's conversation with members of a Saudi hit squad sent to kill him. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)
It is alleged that Khashoggi, a journalist for The Washington Post and a prominent Saudi dissident, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, in a premeditated attack carried out by Saudi nationals. (AP)

It is alleged that Khashoggi, a journalist for The Washington Post and a prominent Saudi dissident, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, in a premeditated attack carried out by Saudi nationals.

Baroness Kennedy’s report states the rise in numbers of executions should be seen “in the context of the extrajudicial execution” of Khashoggi.

"The point of this report is to highlight the extent to which there has been a dramatic escalation of human rights violations by Saudi Arabia," she said.

"The cruelty of the system is so great… I really hope you will all take this Report to heart, and ensure that something can be done globally."

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