Saudi Arabia: Release Abdullah al-Howaiti, Revoke Death Sentence

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In May 2017, the then 14-year-old was arrested on charges of theft and murder. Despite having an alibi based on a confession obtained under torture and other ill-treatment, he was convicted and recently sentenced to death for a second time after his original conviction was overturned by the Saudi Supreme Court last year.

“We are alarmed by the confirmation of the death sentence against Mr. Al-Howaiti, on March 2, 2022, without launching any investigation into the torture allegations or establishing the veracity of the forced confession of guilt,” the experts said.

If the appeals court upholds the conviction, Mr Al-Howaiti will face an immediate risk of execution.

Trial errors

From not considering an alibi, to dismissing allegations of torture and ill-treatment, and admitting torture confessions as incriminating evidence without due investigation, the experts were stunned by the conviction after a trial was marred with such trial irregularities. .

“We would like to remind the Saudi authorities of their obligation to conduct prompt and impartial investigations where there are reasonable grounds to believe that torture has been committed, and to exclude evidence obtained through torture and coercion from legal proceedings,” the statement said. experts. †

abolish the death penalty

The experts also urged the Saudi government/authorities to take measures to abolish the death penalty for children, including with regard to crimes punished under qisas and hudad

qisas is an Islamic term interpreted as ‘an eye for an eye’. It is used as a category of retributive justice for murder in Saudi Arabia and allows victims’ families to seek the death penalty, compensation or pardon.

hatdud refers to Islamic criminal laws or Qur’anic punishments for crimes such as theft, looting, adultery, and apostasy.

According to UN experts, the death penalty for children is absolutely prohibited under international law without exception or derogation under any circumstances.

We urge the Saudi government to take the necessary legislative action without delay to abolish the imposition of the death penalty on children for all crimesincluding in respect of crimes punished under qisas and how so‘ said the experts.

Robbery of life

The UN experts have previously expressed concern about this matter to the government of Saudi Arabia.

Last November, the Arbitrary Detention Working Group issued an opinion stating that Al-Hawaiti’s detention was arbitrary.

They reiterated their request to authorities to take immediate measures to protect the moral and physical integrity of Mr Al-Howaiti, given his age and frailty.

“Prolonged incommunicado detention may facilitate the perpetration of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and may itself constitute a form of such treatment,” the UN experts said.

The death penalty for juvenile offenders in Saudi Arabia is arbitrary deprivation of life, UN experts say.

More about experts

Special rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to investigate and report on a specific human rights issue or situation in a country. The positions are honorary and the experts are not paid for their work.

The experts in this case included the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Chair-Rapporteur Miriam Estrada-Castillo, Vice-Chairman Mumba Malila and Members Elina Steinerte, Matthew Gillett and Priya Gopalan, along with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Morris Tidball Binz.



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