- Some of the 37 men executed by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday claimed before they were killed that they had been forced to confess by their torturers, documents seen by CNN show.
- During their trials in 2016, some of the men – who were killed for terrorist offences – said their confessions were written for them by officials.
- They also claimed their fingerprints were taken and used as proof their confessions were genuine, CNN said.
- According to CNN’s report, one of those executed, 27-year-old Munir al-Adam, told the judge at his trial: “I didn’t write a letter. This is defamation written by the interrogator with his own hand.”
- Saudi Arabia is on track to set a new record for the number of executions carried out in a single year in 2019. It has killed 90 people already this year, and looks set to exceed the 158 people executed in 2015.
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Large numbers of the 37 people executed by Saudi Arabia on Tuesday claimed before their deaths that they were forced to confess to crimes they had never committed during interrogations, a report claims from CNN claims.
Saudi Arabia’s Press Agency announced it was executing the men for terror charges including “adopting extremist terrorist ideologies.” Rights groups say the executions are proof the Kingdom is cracking down on the Shi’a Muslim minority.
But several of the victims said that Saudi officials forged their confessions during interrogations, court documents relating to 25 of the victims and seen by CNN show.
Some of the victims told the judges presiding on their trials their thumbprints were forcibly taken and used to sign off on the false confessions, according to CNN.
“Those aren’t my words,” 27-year-old Munir al-Adam told the judge at his trial, the documents showed. “I didn’t write a letter. This is defamation written by the interrogator with his own hand.”
Justifying the executions, the Saudi Press Agency tweeted on Tuesday: “The death penalty was implemented on a number of criminals for adopting extremist terrorist ideologies and forming terrorist cells to corrupt and disrupt security as well as spreading chaos and provoking sectarian strife.”
Three of the 37 executed were under 18 when their crimes were committed.
Amnesty International released a statement on Wednesday to say Saudi Arabia killed the men to crush dissenting voices from its minority Shi’a population.
“Today’s mass execution is a chilling demonstration of the Saudi Arabian authorities callous disregard for human life,” said Lynn Maalouf, the group’s Middle East Research Director.
Saudi Arabia is on course to set a new record for executing people in 2019, and has killed 90 people so far. In 2015, 158 were executed, the previous annual record.
Crimes which can warrant the death penalty – either by beheading or crucifixion – include murder, terrorism, rape, robbery, arson, burglary, drug trafficking or possession, adultery, renouncing Islam, treason, and espionage.