Saudi Arabia – Protecting Minors from the Death Penalty

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Human rights defenders engage with Special Procedures to prevent enforcement of death penalty against minors

Issue and Context

In Saudi Arabia death penalty sentences were issued against minors for participation in protests. The individuals were minors at the time of the protests, and the sentence of death by crucifixion or beheading came in 2014 in the context of alleged failures of due process guarantees, including allegations of confessions obtained under torture.

What did human rights defenders do?

Civil society considered that the domestic judicial system and protections in place would not be adequate to protect the minors from execution and have the sentences repealed, so NGOs engaged with the Special Procedures.

Civil society worked with the Special Procedures over a number of years, providing information and requesting action when the executions were believed to be imminent.

What happened at the UN?

Special Procedures

Special Procedures sent communications once in 2015, twice in 2016, twice in 2017, and then in 2018, at times when it seemed the executions would take place very soon.

Communications sent by Special Procedures:

Press release of Special Procedures:

Media coverage of communication and press release:

What was the result?

The communications of the Special Procedures contributed to the continued non-enforcement of the death penalty sentences against the minors.

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