On Saturday, the Saudi authorities executed three people convicted of various terrorism-related crimes, including a Yemeni who helped the Houthi rebels in his country target a vital site in the kingdom, according to the official media.
The new executions come less than two months after Saudi Arabia carried out 81 executions in one day, which sparked widespread international condemnation, bringing the number of executions since the beginning of the year to 120, according to an AFP count based on official data.
And the Ministry of Interior announced, in separate statements published by the state news agency “SPA”, on Saturday, the execution of Saudis and Yemenis on the background of cases of espionage, attacking security forces, killing a security man and financing terrorism.
The agency said, quoting a statement from the Ministry of Interior, that the Yemeni person “joined the Houthi terrorist group and received training with them on the use of weapons and explosives and illegally entered the kingdom to carry out a terrorist crime.”
She explained that “monitoring it and sending coordinates to several military and vital sites inside the Kingdom resulted in the targeting of one of the sites,” without specifying it.
Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition in Yemen in support of the internationally recognized government, which has been engaged in a bloody conflict against the Iran-backed Houthis since mid-2014, and a two-month truce entered into force on the second of last April under the auspices of the United Nations to represent a glimmer of hope in the conflict.
It also announced the execution of a Saudi man “who participated with a number of terrorists in killing a security man by shooting him while he was on the security patrol” in the Shiite-dominated Eastern Province.
It also executed another Saudi who “participated in a terrorist cell and made his house a warehouse for the terrorist cell’s weapons and explosives.”
Saudi Arabia had suspended executions during the month of Ramadan, which ended in early May.
According to an AFP count based on Interior Ministry data, Saudi Arabia has executed 120 people since the beginning of the year, exceeding the number of executions carried out during the past year, which included 69 people.
In 2019, Saudi Arabia executed 184 people, the largest number in one year.
The conservative kingdom has long been criticized by human rights organizations for its high execution rates.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, condemned the “mass executions”, noting that some of those executed were convicted after trials that did not meet international standards.
The acceleration of executions in Saudi Arabia comes at a time when the kingdom is witnessing an unprecedented campaign of social openness led by the young Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and accompanied by a crackdown on opponents.