ADHRB urges the Saudi King to Annul the Death Sentences of Jaafar Sultan and Sadeq Thamer

Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls on the King of Saudi Arabia to halt the imminent execution of Bahraini citizens, Jaafar Mohamed Sultan and Sadeq Majeed Thamer, whose death sentences were upheld by the Saudi Supreme Court on 6 April 2022, by annulling their sentences. They have exhausted all legal remedies, and their judgments have been raised to the King who can either ratify the judgment, commute it, or pardon them. This leaves Sadeq and Jaafar, two torture victims, at imminent risk of execution. Only two months ago, Saudi Arabia had executed 81 individuals in one day.  Many of those executed, similarly to Jaafar and Sadeq, had suffered gross fair trial and due process rights violations which ultimately led to their conviction and extrajudicial execution. ADHRB implores that Jaafar and Sadeq do not meet the same fate. 

On 8 May 2015, King Fahd Causeway Customs Saudi authorities arrested both Sadeq and Jaafar and seized their car without presenting an arrest warrant or providing a reason for their arrest. Sadeq and Jaafar were then taken to the General Investigation Prison in Dammam, Saudi Arabia where they were placed in solitary confinement for nearly 4 months. While being held incommunicado, their parents consulted different entities to discover the whereabouts of their children, to no avail. 

In court, Jaafar told the lawyer that he was tortured and threatened with the use of violent reprisals against his family; during his detention, Jaafar was transferred to the hospital for ten days because of the torture he was subjected to. Similarly, Sadeq informed his parents that he was physically abused, and recounted being slapped in the face and threatened with further solitary confinement when he refused to sign a confession. Throughout the interrogation period, Saudi authorities did not allow their lawyer to meet with Sadeq and Jaafar. The due process rights of Jaafar and Sadeq were further violated, as they were not given enough time to adequately prepare for the trial nor were they allowed to present evidence. 

Following a trial marred by severe due process violations, the Specialized Criminal Court of Saudi Arabia sentenced both Jaafar Mohammad Sultan and Sadeq Majeed Thamer to death on 7 October 2021. Despite appealing the outcome of their trial, their verdicts were upheld. Furthermore, Sadeq and Jaafar had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a Bahraini court on the same charges for which they were sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia, prior to the issuance of the Saudi judgment. Despite this, neither Saudi nor Bahraini authorities have responded to requests urging coordination between respective authorities in order to return Sadeq and Jaafar to Bahrain to have them serve their life sentence.  

Given the recent decision of the Saudi Supreme Court to uphold their death sentences, both men are now at risk of execution at any moment. Accordingly, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain calls with the utmost urgency for the Saudi King to annul the death sentences of Jaafar Mohammad Sultan and Sadeq Majeed Thamer, as requested by the Special Rapporteur on arbitrary executions in the Urgent Appeal sent to the Saudi government. Immediate action must be taken coordinate with the relevant Bahraini authorities to return both men to Bahrain, and all allegations of torture must be properly investigated with a view of holding perpetrators accountable. Further, in light of the Saudi government’s continued and alarming use of mass executions following grossly unfair trials, ADHRB urges the Saudi government to abolish its use of capital punishment, since the death penalty contravenes basic human rights.