By Alejandro A. Tagliavini *
Still fresh the assassination of Yamal Khashoggi, UN experts have urged Saudi Arabia to suspend the execution of six young people, detained when they were minors, and sentenced to death for participating in the 2011 demonstrations in the heat of the “Arab spring”. “They were … sentenced … for charges that we consider a criminalization of the exercise of fundamental rights, including the freedom of assembly and expression when they were under 18,” the official statement said.
Among those convicted is the Shiite Ali al Nimr nephew of Nimr al Nimr, a well-known reformer executed in early 2016 for leading the peaceful protests, that took place at the streets of the Saudi province of Al Qatif, demanding an end to discrimination against the Shia minority and a constitutional reform. In addition, they were tortured and forced to confess without access to legal assistance.
Under the Saudi system, inspired by the ‘sharia’ – Islamic law – death, murder, rape, robbery, apostasy and drug trafficking, are punishable by death. In the absence of a penal code, the vague definitions of ‘sharia’ favour arbitrariness.
Days ago, 19 Filipinos women were held for five days in Saudi Arabia for attending a Halloween party, in which there were men and women. Intelligence agents entered a place in the capital where a party was held and arrested the attendees, because the laws of the ‘sharia’ strictly prohibit single men and women from being seen together in public. And, probably, even released will be judged for violating Islamic law.
Considering women-and men- are forced to live in these conditions, it is not surprising that they prefer to commit suicide, especially if they are promised eternal life after their death. So, it is not surprising what happened some days ago when a 30-year-old woman left more than nine injured, after a suicide attack perpetrated in the centre of the Tunisian capital
Khaled Bin Farhan al Saud, is the only wayward member of the vast Saudi royal family that survives exiled abroad, in Germany, thanks to the fact that he did not fall into the trap of going to an appointment meant to kidnap him and take him back to his country , as has happened with the rest. Regarding to the crime of Yamal Khashoggi, he has told El Mundo of Madrid, that “It is a mafia crime, the last sign of the impulsive policy of the crown prince.”
“Five princes visited the monarch a few days ago to talk with him about this case and complain about how his son’s policies are affecting the country and the real family’s future. After the meeting, they were arrested”, denounces Bin Farhan, who asks” the international community to defend human rights …” Will they do it, or will they continue to “enjoy” the “petrodollars” they get with their arms sales?
As if all of this was not enough to make it clear that the Saudi State is terrorist, its bombing campaign that started in Yemen in 2015 has already left more than 10,000 civilian casualties. To such an extent these attacks are inhuman that, even their best ally, the United States, demands to stop it. Three and a half years of war in one of the poorest countries in the world have left two thirds of the 27 million Yemenis dependent on humanitarian aid.
* Member of the Advisory Board of the Center on Global Prosperity, Oakland, California