Saudi Arabia executes two Bahraini men convicted of belonging to militant group

The two were detained in May 2015 for belonging to an unidentified group that allegedly smuggles explosives into country

This is a locator map for Saudi Arabia with its capital, Riyadh. (AP Photo)
This is a locator map for Saudi Arabia with its capital, Riyadh. (AP Photo)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Saudi Arabia said it executed two Bahraini men on Monday after they were convicted of belonging to a militant group wanting to destabilize the two Mideast kingdoms. Amnesty International had criticized their trial as being “grossly unfair.”

The Saudi Interior Ministry’s announcement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, identified the men as Jaafar Sultan and Sadeq Thamer.

Last year, Amnesty said the men were detained in May 2015 and held incommunicado for three and a half months.

The Saudi statement said that the Specialized Criminal Court convicted the two men of belonging to a militant group — headed by a man wanted by the Bahraini authorities — spreading chaos and smuggling explosives to be used inside Saudi Arabia. The statement did not identify the group or their leader.

Amnesty, however, had criticized their October 2021 trial and conviction, adding they also had faced charges for “participation in anti-government protests in Bahrain.”

“Jaafar and Sadeq had no access to legal representation throughout their pre-trial detention and interrogations,” the rights group said in a statement in May 2022. “According to court documents, they told the court that they were tortured and that their so-called confessions were extracted under duress.”

The execution took place in Saudi Arabia’s predominantly Shiite Eastern Province.

Bahrain, an island nation in the Persian Gulf just across from Saudi Arabia, did not immediately acknowledge the executions. Bahrain has seen a low-level insurgency by militant groups since it cracked down on protesters during the 2011 Arab Spring.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s top executors. It typically beheads prisoners sentenced to death.

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