Fourteen Saudi Arabians face “imminent” execution after a “grossly unfair mass trial” in which they were convicted of rioting, theft and rebellion, Amnesty International warned on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest execution rates. The ultraconservative kingdom has executed 66 people this year alone, according to the London-based rights group.
The country’s supreme court upheld the death penalty for the 14 men, all Saudi citizens, for charges including rioting, theft and armed robbery and “armed rebellion against the ruler,” Amnesty said.
“King Salman’s signature is now all that stands between them and their execution,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty’s director of Middle East campaigns.
Hadid described the supreme court’s decision as “a result of sham court proceedings that brazenly flout international fair trial standards” and that aimed to “crush dissent and neutralize political opponents.”
Amnesty said 15 other Saudi nationals were sentenced to death by the country’s supreme court on Sunday on charges of spying for Shiite Iran.
Authorities have cracked down on political dissent in recent months, primarily in the eastern Qatif district.
Authorities executed four men on July 11 convicted of “terrorist crimes,” including attacks on police and riots in Qatif, the interior ministry said.
Qatif is home to a significant number of the kingdom’s minority Shiites, who are estimated at around 10 percent of the population and who have long complained of marginalization by Sunni authorities.
Saudi authorities have said terrorists and drug traffickers are behind the unrest in Qatif.