In Saudi Arabia, a record capital execution with no response from Westerners

In Saudi Arabia, 81 death row inmates were beheaded in one day on Saturday, March 12. In the crash of Russian bombs, this macabre record went relatively unnoticed: the whole world has its eyes on Ukraine. However, the kingdom has never executed so many prisoners at once. In one day that is more than in all of 2021 (67 executions).

These prisoners were mainly Saudis (there were only 8 foreigners: 7 Yemenis and one Syrian). According to the kingdom’s official news agency, they engaged in attacks on Saudi sites,” kidnappings, torture, rapes and arms smuggling responsible for crimes committed caused a large number of deaths among civilians and law enforcement officers “. Without further details.

Half of those sentenced to death were Shiites, a minority representing 10 to 15% of the population, a minority who face discrimination in the country for its alleged ties to its major neighboring enemy, Iran. Their main crime was mainly taking part in anti-government demonstrations in 2011 and 2012.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has accused Riyadh of turning them into criminals using only their freedom of expression. NGOs denounce the unfair trials and lack of information of the families who were not authorized to recover the bodies. l‘European Saudi Organization for Human Rights does not hesitate to speak of’massacre

The Saudi press speaks of these executions as a “astonishing success in suppressing terrorism“or a”source of pride worthy of respect and admiration“. “There is no Islam without communion, and communion without faith, and faith without obedience. planned for him” [la charia]”, declared the head of the religious police on television, calling for a measure “needed to maintain order and unity

In the chanceriesstrange, reactions remain rare. The European Union said to itself vehemently oppose the death penalty, regardless of the circumstances » and is concerned about a « alarming increase in propensity to use the death penalty in Saudi Arabia“A timid condemnation.

Saudi Arabia is sending an unequivocal message: it is about showing the Saudis and the international community that the regime is strong, that no one is imposing its practices on it.

The kingdom even drove cynicism to the point of release, the day before these executions, the activist and blogger Raïf Badawi, jailed since 2012. A smokescreen. Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salman, who has a project to liberalize society, recently told an American magazine that he was going to modernize the judiciary. We are miles away from these reform promises.

The world’s largest oil producer, the country is the only one able to curb the price hike caused by the war in Ukraine by increasing its production. The energy crisis has returned Saudi Arabia to the omnipotence and power it lost after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. But ISo far, Riyadh has neither condemned Russia nor turned on the tap. Last week, Arab newspapers even reported that MBS is no longer answering the phone with US President Joe Biden.

The economic situation is so critical that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to travel to Riyadh this week to persuade MBS to act. So much for the 81 executions. So much for human rights violations. Again, Saudi oil is enough to buy the world’s silence.