Partially deaf, blind Saudi man moved into solitary confinement for execution

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SHAFAQNA – A disabled man sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for attending a protest has been moved into solitary confinement in preparation for his execution, a human rights group has claimed.

A court in the country’s capital, Riyadh, sentenced the 23-year-old to death in January last year. That sentence was upheld in May 2017.

Mr Adam has impaired sight and was already partially deaf when he was arrested, but he now cannot hear in one ear at all. He claims this is a result of being badly beaten by police.

Human rights group Reprieve, said Saudi authorities had not given a reason for his move to solitary confinement, which took place on 22 June. But it said prisoners were usually transferred into cells alone prior to their execution.

Mr Adam’s family had not been allowed to visit him, the group said, adding that it believed he was being held in a cell for 24 hours a day without outdoor exercise breaks.

The 23-year-old steel cable worker could be executed at any moment without his family being notified, Reprieve director Maya Foa said.

“There’s usually no date and no location given,” she added. “The system is incredibly secretive and opaque, which adds to the distress for the families of those involved.”

Reprieve said the case against Mr Adam – made in a secretive criminal trial – relied on a false confession he was tortured into giving. He has since retracted the statement.

In May, the Saudi Specialised Criminal Court upheld the death sentence against Mr Adam, days after US President Donald Trump visited the kingdom.

News that Mr Adam had been moved into solitary confinement came after the Saudi interior minister announced that six people were executed earlier this week.

The deaths are thought to bring the number of executions by Saudi Arabia this year to 44.

The country executed a record 158 people in 2015 and another 153 people last year, according to Amnesty International.

A June report by Reprieve found that 41 per cent of those executed in Saudi Arabia in 2017 were killed for non-violent acts such as attending political protests.

UN experts have called for an end to executions for non-violent offences, but authorities claim the death penalty acts as a useful deterrent to criminals.

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