30 May 2023 – On Monday, Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia continued its bloody streak by executing two young Bahraini men convicted through confessions derived by torture. Sadiq Thamer and Jaafar Sultan were killed following Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s signature on their execution orders. The men had been the subject of an international human rights campaign demanding their extradition to Bahrain to face a lighter punishment.
Thamer and Sultan had been previously tried in the Bahraini court system, where they had been sentenced to life imprisonment on charges relating to joining a terrorist group and manufacturing explosives. Their trials in Bahrain were marred with due process violations, including the introduction of confessions obtained by means of torture – confessions that ultimately proved dispositive in securing their convictions.
However, shortly after their convictions in Bahrain, the two were transferred to Saudi Arabia, where they were tried again for the same alleged offenses. The trial in Saudi Arabia ran similarly to that which occurred in Bahrain, and the pair suffered from due process violations including lack of access to counsel, cruel and inhumane treatment during their trial, and the use of evidence including confessions derived by means of torture. Under international law, these due process violations would have resulted in a mistrial – instead, Saudi Arabia convicted them and sentenced them to death.
Thamer and Sultan were the subject of a long international human rights campaign towards their retrial, on the grounds that they had been tortured into confessing and that their trials had been illegal. Instead, Mohammed bin Salman – MbS, for short – signed their execution orders, and they were killed on Monday.
Since being welcomed back to the international spotlight following his involvement in the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, MbS has signed a total of 185 execution orders – he is responsible for an average of 12 executions per week in that time, believed to potentially be the most in the world over a similar timespan.
“185. That’s the number of lives that MbS has extinguished since the international community gave him a pass for his involvement in assassination,” said ADHRB Executive Director Husain Abdulla. “The cost of doing business with Saudi Arabia can’t just be measured in dollars, but also in human life.”
ADHRB condemns the execution of Sadiq Thamer and Jaafar Sultan in the strongest of terms, as we condemn the use of the death penalty in all of its forms.