Saudi Arabia set for record-breaking year of executions after beheading of 80

Saudi Arabia is set for a record-breaking year of bloodied executions as numbers reach 120 already this year.

The country's death penalty rate has already spiked in the first half of the year, following the mass butchering of prisoners – often for non-fatal crimes, such as campaigning for democracy.

The daunting statistics has sparked fresh alerts from human rights groups, who fear that the sudden increase could see Saudi Arabia smash its current record of 186 deaths seen in 2019.

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The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights has hit out at the justice system for failing to cut down on the number of tortures and murders, reports The Mirror. 

It comes as the group revealed that the killings between January and June demonstrates a shocking 80 per cent increase in executions compared to 2021 – with more than during 2020 and 2021 combined.

The ESOHR says the lack of transparency in the system meant that they only learned of the killings after they'd taken place.

In its report, the group drew attention to a mass beheading of 81 criminals on March 12 – when more than 70 per cent of the victims were killed for their involvement in non-fatal crimes.

Of the total number killed, 41 men – over 50 per cent – were slaughtered for taking part in pro-democracy demonstrations.

To justify the killings, the Saudi leadership branded the men "terrorists" before putting them before their executioners.

The ESOHR reported that at least three of the men provided credible claims they had been tortured and their confessions forced.

Out of 120 sent to die, 101 were Saudi nationals, with the other 19 comprising of nine Yemenis, three Egyptians, two Indonesians and a "citizen from each of Ethiopia, Myannmar, Jordan, Palestine and Syria."

The vast majority of them were "tried and executed for punitive crimes" despite promises from the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to cut down the severity of the sentence for these charges.

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Forty-one were killed for exercising "basic rights, including participation in demonstrations", the report adds.

Another 37 convicts were put to the sword for "unknown" crimes, the report charges, claiming that this "reflects the lack of transparency in the Saudi justice system".

The report reads: "Saudi Arabia continues to systematically practice many human rights violations, including enforced disappearances and torture.

"Violations are accompanied by a disregard for obligations, as Saudi Arabia ignores a visit request submitted by the torture decision 16 years ago."

At the moment, two Bahraini youths are at risk of imminent execution because they confessed after torture, the ESOHR said.

The report added: "The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights believes that the first half of 2022 confirmed that Saudi Arabia's use of the death penalty continues unabated, and considers that the numbers and the continued threat of minors confirm the false promises of reform."

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