Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs calls for an “immediate moratorium on executions” in Saudi Arabia

Two Irish deputies brought the urgent death row case of Jaafar Mohamed Sultan and Sadeq Majeed Thamer to the attention of the Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney on the 1st of June 2022. These two Bahraini men are on death row in Saudi Arabia, having exhausted all legal remedies and are at risk of imminent execution despite a grossly unfair legal process and allegations of torture. Paul Murphy TD of People before Profit and Catherine Connolly TD, an Independent, raised this case with Minister Coveney, asking if he will make a statement on the matter.


In a written statement, Minister Coveney highlighted Ireland’s consistent opposition to the death penalty stating they have made this clear in previous interactions with Saudi officials. He noted this particular case with concern. Minister Coveney reaffirmed Ireland’s commitment to the UN Standard. Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. The EU-Saudi Arabia Human Rights Dialogue held for the first time in September 2021 was highlighted where the issues of arbitrary detention and the death penalty were raised. Minister Coveney then ended his statement by saying, “The abolition of the death penalty will continue to be a foreign policy priority for Ireland. I urge Saudi Arabia to establish an immediate moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty”. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Ireland has previously condemned the 81 executions in one day by Saudi Arabia in March of this year.


It is great to see the Irish parliament publicly call for the end of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia and this urgent case getting international attention and condemnation. The two deputies involved have consistently raised human rights issues in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in the Irish parliament. Now under an international spotlight, Saudi Arabia must commute these unjust death sentences and take steps to abolish the death penalty completely.