Saudi Arabia Plans to Behead Prominent Female Shia Rights Activist

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest death penalty rates in the world, but now officials are pushing this barbaric practice to a new low.

The country’s public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five activists whose only crime is encouraging people to demonstrate for the rights of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite Muslim minority.

One of those five is 29-year-old Israa al-Ghomgham, who would be the first woman in Saudi Arabia to face the death penalty for taking part in peaceful protests for human rights.

As Amnesty International puts it:

Israa al-Ghomgham and four other individuals are now facing the most appalling possible punishment simply for their involvement in anti-government protests. We are urging the Saudi Arabian authorities to drop these plans immediately.

A Shia activist, al-Ghomgham is well known for participating in mass protests in the Eastern Province of the country, as well as demanding an end to the discrimination that Shia citizens face in this majority-Sunni country.

She and her husband were arrested at their home on December 6, 2015, and they’ve been held in Dammad’s al-Mabahith prison ever since, along with three other activists. A sixth activist has also been detained, all without any legal representation.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW):

The Public Prosecution, which reports directly to the king, accused the detained activists of several charges that do not resemble recognizable crimes, including “participating in protests in the Qatif region,” “incitement to protest,” “chanting slogans hostile to the regime,” ”attempting to inflame public opinion,” “filming protests and publishing on social media,” and “providing moral support to rioters.”

These charges are completely appalling, given that the activists are facing execution not for any kind of violent crime, but simply for speaking their minds. The charges are clearly politically motivated — an attempt to shut down any dissent in the country’s Eastern Province.

And this is the first time that a woman will face execution in Saudi Arabia as the result of her non-violent human rights work.

The country is well-known for its use of capital punishment. The favored method is beheading, and 48 people have already been murdered in this way over a four-month period this year.

Saudi Arabia has executed both women and men — often Shiite activists convicted of political crimes — but never a woman whose only crime has been to lead her fellow Shiites in protesting human rights violations.

Fifty-three countries around the world still retain capital punishment – including, shamefully, the U.S. In 2017, China was the world’s leading executioner. Of the rest, 84 percent of all executions were carried out in four countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been courting the West and promising all kinds of reform, such as finally permitting women to drive, but this is not real change when he’s simultaneously detaining, imprisoning and executing human rights activists.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW, explained:

Any execution is appalling, but seeking the death penalty for activists like Israa al-Ghomgham, who are not even accused of violent behavior, is monstrous. Every day, the Saudi monarchy’s unrestrained despotism makes it harder for its public relations teams to spin the fairy tale of “reform” to allies and international business.

Take Action!

The plans by the Public Prosecutor in Saudi Arabia to execute Issra al-Ghomgam and five other human rights activists are horrifying, and they must be stopped.

If you agree, please sign my Care2 petition urging the Saudi Arabian authorities to drop their plans immediately.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.

 

Photo Credit: Chief National Guard Bureau/Flickr

110 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y1 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y1 months ago

thanks

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Olivia M
Past Member 4 months ago

Signed, of course.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson5 months ago

Signed.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson5 months ago

Horrible.

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R5 months ago

No comment :( Signed... with hope

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heather g
heather g5 months ago

All that money and the leaders remain brutal. Quote : "Fifty-three countries around the world still retain capital punishment – including, shamefully, the U.S. In 2017, China was the world’s leading executioner. Of the rest, 84 percent of all executions were carried out in four countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan."

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Teresa A
Teresa Antela5 months ago

Petition already signed of course.

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Janis K
Janis K5 months ago

Thanks for sharing, I hope she is spared.

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Dave f
Past Member 5 months ago

Saudi Arabia has no human rights .

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