6 March 2019 – Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and Alsalam Foundation take this opportunity at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council, during the Clustered Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Disabilities and the Special Rapporteur on Albinism to call to the Council’s attention Saudi Arabia’s use of the death penalty against individuals with disabilities. In her intervention, Ms. Naomi Kenifra on behalf of ADHRB and Alsalam discusses repeated human rights violations directed towards disabled persons in Saudia Arabia, as the government subjects them to torture and capital punishment. Please continue reading for the full text of the statement, or click here for a PDF.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZfNGZehos8&w=560&h=315]
Alsalam and ADHRB would like to bring to the Council’s attention Saudi Arabia’s use of the death penalty against individuals with disabilities.
Saudi Arabia has a record of sentencing individuals to death, including those with disabilities. In July 2017, Saudi Arabia confirmed the death sentence against Munir Al-Adam, who is partially blind and partially deaf. Munir was arrested in 2012 for his involvement in the 2011 protests when he was 18-years-old and sentenced to death in late 2016.
Following his initial detention, Munir was taken to al-Qatif police station, where he was beaten by authorities before being transferred to the General Directorate of Investigation in al-Dammam. There he was subjected to solitary confinement, electric shocks, sleep deprivation, and beatings which targeted his disabilities. Munir is now permanently deaf in one ear because of the abuse he endured.
While the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities issued its decision regarding Munir’s case last September, stating that the Saudi government violated Munir’s rights and that he should be released, Saudi officials have elected to ignore this decision and Munir is at imminent risk of execution.
Saudi Arabia has also previously executed individuals with disabilities, including in January 2016, when two of the 47 people executed suffered from mental illness.
In addition to executions of persons with disabilities, Saudi Arabia fails to implement laws that integrate disabled persons into Saudi society, in part because the government does not adequately fund agencies that support disabled persons.
Mr. President, Saudi Arabia continues to violate the rights of its population with disabilities by continuing to subject them to torture and capital punishment. We ask you, how can the international community work to protect the rights of those with disabilities in Saudi Arabia?