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Saudi Arabia sentenced 81 people to death

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Saudi Arabia sentenced 81 people to death

The interior ministry statement said the crimes of those killed included murder; Pledge of allegiance to foreign terrorist groups, including Islamic State and Al Qaeda; and traveling to join such groups, as well as the vaguely worded crime of “targeting residents in the state.”

Others were indicted for targeting government employees and “critical economic sites”, smuggling weapons into the state, killing law enforcement officers and planting landmines, which the ministry said were not intended for use against police vehicles. were taken.

“The Kingdom will continue to take a tough and unwavering stand against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world,” the ministry said.

The ministry said the defendants were able to exercise “their full rights under Saudi law” before Saudi courts, including the right to a lawyer. But the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights said it has documented cases in which defendants were denied access to a lawyer, tortured and held incommunicado.

Soraya Bouwens, deputy director of Repriv, an advocacy group tracking executions in Saudi Arabia, said in a statement on Saturday: “The world should know by now that when Mohammed bin Salman has promised reform, there will be a lot of bloodshed. It’s bound to follow.”

Noting that the Western world was looking to Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, to help make up for the shortfall in oil supplies, several countries lashed out at Ukraine under President Vladimir V. Putin’s aggression had drained energy from Russia, saying, “We cannot show our hatred of Putin’s atrocities by rewarding the people of the Crown Prince.”

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Rights groups said the number of executions carried out on Saturday was far higher than those killed in the state’s two most recent mass executions: one in 2019, in which 37 were executed, and the other in 2016, when 47 were executed. .

Asma al-Omran contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon.

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