#EndTheDeathSentence is a slogan launched by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain in its campaign to demand the commutation of the death sentences against the two Bahraini young men, Sadeq Thamer and Jaafar Sultan, who are sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia. The campaign also demands their immediate release, as they are at risk of imminent execution at any moment after exhausting all legal remedies. ADHRB also urges pressure on Bahrain to demand the return of Sadeq Thamer and Jaafar Sultan and to overturn the sentences issued against them.
In the spirit of these demands, the organization has sent letters to the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Chairperson, and members of the Joint Committee on Human Rights in the US Congress, the British Parliament, the Swiss Parliament, the Norwegian Parliament, and the Icelandic Parliament, as well as to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urging those bodies to take actions:
. Expressing deep concern about the conditions of detention of Sadeq Thamer and Jaafar Sultan and their imminent risk of execution;
. Exerting pressure through relevant diplomatic channels to demand that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain put an end to human rights violations and reduce the use of the death penalty with the goal of abolishing it; and
. Raising the issue in all international forums and on social media platforms to halt the executions of Sadeq Thamer and Jaafar Sultan and secure their immediate release.
The campaign will continue on social media for a week, with a number of posts being released under the hashtag #EndTheDeathSentence on the organization’s accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, along with a number of infographics that document the case of the two young men. The spotlight will be on the main demands outlined in the message.
About the case
On 7 October 2021, after multiple human rights violations that affected Sadeq and Jaafar since their arrest, including torture, disappearance, and forced confessions, followed by a trial marred by substantial due process violations, the Specialized Criminal Court in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sentenced both Jaafar Mohammed Sultan and Sadeq Majid Thamer to death on charges of transporting and possessing explosive materials. The verdict was based on coerced confessions obtained under torture. Despite their appeal, the Saudi Supreme Court upheld their death sentences on 6 April 2022. The verdict is final and may be executed at any moment upon the King’s signature.
The Bahraini Fourth Criminal Court previously ruled on 31 May 2016 to sentence Sadeq and Jaafar to life imprisonment in Bahrain with a fine of 200,000 Bahraini dinars for the same incident for which they were convicted in Saudi Arabia. They were forced under torture to confess to charges of forming a terrorist group and joining it, possession and manufacturing of explosives, and training on the use of weapons and explosives.
Despite this, the Saudi and Bahraini authorities did not respond to requests to coordinate between the relevant authorities to return Sadeq and Jaafar to Bahrain to serve their life sentences.
On 26 January 2022, four UN special rapporteurs, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, expressed their concern about the death sentences handed down to the young men, Sadeq Thamer and Jaafar Sultan, in a letter addressed to the Saudi government. The UN Procedures called on Saudi Arabia to immediately commute the death sentences and reiterated their call for Saudi Arabia to impose an official moratorium on all executions as a first step towards the complete abolition of the death penalty in the country.
On 1 June 2022, two Irish deputies drew the attention of the Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, to the urgent case of Jaafar Mohamed Sultan and Sadeq Majid Thamer, who have been sentenced to death. They urged him to issue a statement on the matter and to urge Saudi Arabia to immediately halt the executions and abolish the death penalty in the kingdom.
In addition, several international organizations have issued statements to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia calling for the commutation of the death sentences against Sultan and Thamer. Their case has not been absent from the sessions of the Human Rights Council, especially in the last two sessions of the Council, the fifty-first and fifty-second.
The arrest of Sadeq and Jaafar by the Saudi authorities without a warrant, as well as their subjugation to torture to coerce confessions and conviction on charges they had previously been tried for in Bahrain, constitutes a violation of international standards regarding legal procedures and guaranteed fair trial in the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The death sentences imposed on them contradict the fundamental principles of human rights and violate their right to a fair trial.