Saudi Arabia: Jordanian man at imminent risk of execution amid spike in beheadings for drug-related offences

Hussein Abo al-Kheir, a Jordanian gentleman and father of 8 who has been on dying row because 2015 on a drug-smuggling conviction is at risk of imminent execution, Amnesty Intercontinental mentioned these days, as Saudi Arabia resumes executions for drug-associated offences immediately after a two-calendar year moratorium.

Because 10 November 2022, Saudi Arabia has executed 20 men and women convicted on drug-similar rates, 60{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of whom were being international nationals. Dozens additional prisoners are feared to be dealing with the identical destiny.

Hussein Abo al-Kheir could now be place to death at any minute. He has already seen other detainees from his facility taken away to be executed. These callous executions ought to close now.

Heba Morayef, Amnesty Intercontinental

“The resumption of executions for drug-relevant offences in Saudi Arabia mean that Hussein Abo al-Kheir could now be place to demise at any moment. He has currently viewed other detainees from his facility taken absent to be executed. These callous executions should conclusion now. Nobody should really have to undergo this final cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment,” explained Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Center East and North Africa.

“The Saudi authorities ought to quickly commute his sentence and the sentences of all those on dying row. They must urgently declare a moratorium on all executions with a perspective to abolishing the death penalty entirely.”

Hussein Abo al-Kheir was arrested on 18 May perhaps 2014 by customs officers even though crossing from Jordan into Saudi Arabia for allegedly smuggling amphetamine pills. He was detained incommunicado at an mysterious area for 12 times and was only in a position to make contact with his loved ones two months following his arrest. He states that the authorities acquired a ‘confession’ from him by suspending him upside down by his feet and beating him so poorly he could no lengthier maintain a pen. In the conclude, he stated he could only ‘sign’ the document making use of his fingerprint. He afterwards retracted this ‘confession’ before the Tabuk Legal Court docket and asked for a professional medical report, but states his claims of torture have not been investigated. He had no access to authorized representation or consular aid through his pre-trial detention and court docket proceedings.

In June 2021, Hussein shared good news with his household right after the authorities advised him his dying sentence had been suspended and was becoming reviewed in mild of a directive issued by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, which said that some detainees held on drug offences would be pardoned. Despite the fact that it was unclear no matter whether this buy would use to all those on dying row, some detainees held in his facility ended up introduced.

Because then, having said that, the authorities have not reported nearly anything to Hussein about the standing of his circumstance, and as Saudi Arabia has once once more ramped up its use of executions for drug-linked offences, Hussein’s relatives are living in agony figuring out that he could be executed at any moment.

Hussein’s sister, Zainab Abo al-Kheir, informed Amnesty International: “Hussein called us yesterday and informed us that the jail authorities took a Saudi guy from his ward to be executed yesterday, and that two months ago two Jordanians were taken to be executed. We felt like he was planning us for his imminent loss of life, as if he was telling us ‘goodbye’. We really don’t know what will transpire to Hussein, but how is it attainable that the authorities could possibly execute him at any minute with out telling us? Our anger and desperation are unexplainable.”

The UN Operating Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Hussein is staying arbitrarily detained and that his deprivation of liberty “lacks a legal basis”, prior to recommending that Saudi Arabia “quash his demise sentence” and “immediately and unconditionally release him.”

Today, on 1 December, UN gurus raised issues that Hussein Abo al-Kheir “may soon be executed” and identified as on the Saudi federal government to set up an formal moratorium on all executions with a view to entirely abolishing the dying penalty.


In January 2021, the Saudi Human Rights Fee mentioned the nation experienced released a moratorium on executions for drug-associated crimes, and that “the Kingdom and its justice system are concentrating much more on rehabilitation and prevention”.

Amongst February 2020 and October 2022, Saudi Arabia did not carry out any executions for drug-associated offences, but the moratorium on executions was under no circumstances enshrined in regulation, which offers that drug smuggling or relevant crimes are punishable by demise under tazir (the judge’s discretion). Between 2016 and 2020, the Saudi authorities executed at least 987 persons, together with 232 Saudi and international nationals convicted on drug-relevant offences.

Saudi Arabia has by now carried out 148 executions this year. In March, the authorities executed 81 men and women in a one day – the major mass execution in decades –  which include 41 folks who were being from the country’s Shi’a minority. The authorities have also continued to hand down loss of life sentences to adult men from the Shi’a minority, which includes those who ended up beneath the age of 18 at the time of their alleged crimes.