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Saudi opposition party NAAS demands end to Riyadh regime’s repression, executions

In this file picture, a woman is seen kneeling on the ground ahead of her execution in Saudi Arabia as a swordsman dressed in white stands above her. (Photo via Twitter)

Saudi Arabian opposition party, the National Assembly Party (NAAS), has strongly condemned the Al Saud regime's repressive measures against pro-democracy campaigners, intellectuals and scholars in the kingdom, demanding a halt to executions.

NAAS, in a statement, denounced the Saudi regime's use of the death penalty as a means of political liquidation, and slammed its attempts to limit legitimate public demands for political and civil rights, such as peaceful demonstration or freedom of expression.

The opposition group lamented that scores of young Saudi citizens – the last of whom was Mustafa bin Hashim bin Issa Al Darwish from the country’s Shia-majority Qatif region in Eastern Province – have been executed at the hands of the Riyadh regime without any political charges and following unfair trials.

“Despite Saudi authorities' pledge to stop the use of the death penalty against minors, the officials’ criminal approach recalls the brutal and extrajudicial killing of the famous [dissident] journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” NAAS pointed out.

The National Assembly Party went on to say that such a repressive approach indicates a dangerous development in the behavior of the Saudi regime, which underlines the need to confront the method.

The Saudi opposition party noted that the Al Saud regime would use the approach against hundreds of political detainees on the grounds of their political affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood or other groups.

It said people have the full right to belong to any peaceful political group, and branding them as terrorists is only a means to stop them from peaceful political activism.

The National Assembly Party then called on Saudi figures and officials to fulfill their national and humanitarian duties, counter such practices and reform the political and legal process in a way that individuals have a full right to freedom of expression, political activism and peaceful demonstrations.

“Death penalty, which is irrevocable, has soared to its highest record during the reign of King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that its practice in all countries of the world is in decline. The trend points to the politicization of the punishment, as well as dangerously reduced role of law, freedoms and fundamental rights,” the statement read.

The opposition group finally emphasized that juveniles and political prisoners from all sects are being held in prisons across Saudi Arabia, and they will all face the same fate. 

“They all need us to take a firm stance against the repressive actions of the Al Saud regime in order to force it into stopping these actions,” it concluded.

Ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested dozens of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

Muslim Saudi scholars have been executed, women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured, and freedom of expression, association and belief continue to be denied.

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