A new document reveals that 37 dissidents recently beheaded by Saudi Arabia had confessed under torture in prisons.
The trial documents, released on Friday by the US news network CNN, show that many of those executed said they were completely innocent and their confessions were written by the same people who tortured them.
Riad announced Tuesday that 37 men, mostly Shiite activists, had been executed on charges of “terrorism,” including three who were minors when the kingdom said they had committed their “crimes. One of the men was crucified after his execution and displayed as a warning to others.
The documents also show that, far from acknowledging their confessions, some of the men repeatedly told the court that the guilty admissions were false. In some cases, the suspects pointed out that they had only provided their fingerprints to sign confessions that they reiterated had been written by their torturers.
“Those are not my words,” stressed one of the defendants, Munir al-Adam, during the trial, according to the documents. “I did not write a letter. This is a defamation written by the interrogator with his own hand.
The 27-year-old, who was partially blind and deaf, was named as one of the men executed on Tuesday.
These beheadings have been the most massive in Saudi Arabia since January 2016, when 47 men were executed in a single day, including Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqer al-Nimr.
On Wednesday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet condemned the “shocking” executions in Saudi Arabia. Bachelet only went so far as to condemn the barbaric action because, in her opinion, there was no reason to take concrete action against Riyadh.
Various Oenegés and human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) have repeatedly denounced the exponential increase in repression, arrest and imprisonment by Riad of activists who, in addition, are subjected to brutal torture, including sexual assault.
The UK-based association against the death penalty, Reprieve, said in 2018 that Saudi Arabia’s execution rate had doubled since the appointment of Muhamad bin Salman Al Saud as Crown Prince in 2017.