Saudi court upholds death sentence for disabled man ‘tortured for confession’ – rights group

Saudi court upholds death sentence for disabled man ‘tortured for confession’ – rights group
Saudi Arabia has upheld a death sentence for a disabled man, arrested in 2012 on suspicion of taking part in protests and then tortured until he signed a “false confession,” according to a rights group. The decision leaves the man with one last appeal before King Salman makes his execution official.

Munir Adam, 23, was arrested in 2012 for allegedly taking part in protests in the Eastern Province. According to Reprieve, a rights group of international lawyers and investigators, Saudi police “tortured” the man and “forced him to sign a false confession,” which then served “as the sole piece of evidence against him.” 

Adam, who already had impaired sight and hearing, allegedly lost complete hearing in one ear as a result of the beatings.

Following the Specialized Criminal Court’s ruling, the accused can now appeal his sentence one last time before the Saudi monarch, King Salman, signs the execution warrant.

Reprieve director Maya Foa described his case as “utterly shocking” and urged US president Donald Trump to “call for the release of Munir, and all others who face execution for simply exercising freedom of expression.”

The decision comes shortly after Trump’s first visit to the kingdom last week, which was praised by the US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross for not having “a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time” they were there.

“The White House should be appalled that our Saudi allies tortured a disabled protester until he lost his hearing then sentenced him to death on the basis of a forced confession,” Foa said in a statement.

“Today’s judgment shows that, by failing to raise human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, President Trump has emboldened the Kingdom to continue the torture and execution of protesters,” she added.

Reprieve also brought attention to the cases of another three juveniles also at risk of being executed. The young men, also arrested on protest-related allegations, potentially face execution by beheading and crucifixion.

Saudi Arabia is among the world’s top five executioners, with at least 154 death penalties carried out in 2016, according to Amnesty International.