Saudi Arabia may carry out its first-ever execution of female political prisoner: reports
Saudi Arabia may carry out its first beheading of a female political prisoner, according to several human rights activists.
Israa al-Ghomgham has been imprisoned since 2015, after taking part in anti-government protests in the eastern region of Qatif and campaigning for human rights on social media, according to the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR).
If the Saudis carry out the sentence, it will be the first time the country has subjected a woman to capital punishment, the Middle East Eye reported.
Al-Ghomgham and five others including her husband had been charged with inciting disobedience of the ruler and organizing anti-government protests. The protesters demanded an end to anti-Shia discrimination and also the release of political prisoners.
“Saudi Arabia is calling for the beheading of female human rights defender Israa Al-Ghomgham because she participated in peaceful protests. This is the same barbaric regime which still sits on the UN Women’s Rights Commission,” Sarah Abdallah, an independent Lebanese commentator tweeted.
Saudi Arabia is calling for the beheading of female human rights defender Israa Al-Ghomgham because she participated in peaceful protests.
This is the same barbaric regime which still sits on the UN Women’s Rights Commission.
Let that sink in.
— Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) August 20, 2018
The final judgment for Ghomgham’s case is scheduled for October. A judge will either confirm or reverse the death penalty recommendation issued by the public prosecutor in August, according to local media.
“Sentencing a female human rights defender to death is a dangerous precedent in Saudi Arabia,” Ali Adubisi of ESOHR, told the Middle East Eye.
“It’s largely a revenge against the Arab Spring, and a punishment for Qatif, which witnessed the largest protests since 2011.”
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According to Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia has been carrying out a “worrying increase” in death sentences against political dissidents in the nation, executing 146 people in 2017.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most prolific executioners and uses the death penalty for a wide range of offences such as murder, drug-related crimes and terrorism, according to Amnesty International.