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2018 Death Penalty report: Saudi Arabia’s False Promise

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With crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at the helm, 2018 was a deeply violent and barbaric year for Saudi Arabia, under his de facto leadership.
PhotoDeera Square is a public space located in front of the Religious Police building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which public executions (usually by beheading) take place. It is sometimes known as Justice Square and colloquially called Chop Chop Square. After Friday prayers, police and other officials clear the area to make way for the execution to take place. After the beheading of the condemned, the head is stitched to the body which is wrapped up and taken away for the final rites.
This year execution rates of 149 executions, shows an increase from than previous year of three executions, indicating that death penalty trends are soaring and there is no reversal of this trend in sight.
The execution rates between 2015-2018 are amongst the highest recorded in the Kingdom since the 1990s and coincide with the ascension of king Salman to the …

AU rights body urges Mauritania 'review' blasphemy law

Islam blasphemy
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights calls on Mauritanian government to review draft law that applies death penalty for blasphemy.

The African Union's human rights body has called on Mauritania to "review" a draft law that applies the death penalty for blasphemy as global outrage grows over the imprisonment of a young blogger.

Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir has been detained for more than 4 years despite his death penalty being downgraded to a 2-year sentence in November.

The decision by an appeals court to spare Mkheitir's life, which caused clashes and outrage in the conservative Muslim nation, came after he repented for charges of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a blog post.

Later in November the government moved to harden up religious laws so that showing repentance for blasphemy and apostasy could no longer prevent the death penalty.

But the text of the bill has not yet been promulgated by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, without official explanation.

The head of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Soyata Maiga, called on the government to reconsider the bill in the capital Nouakchott on Wednesday.

"The African commission uses the occasion of its current session in Mauritania to urge the highest authorities to review this legislation," she said.

"This review must be done in accordance with the guidelines and efforts of the African commission's working group on the death penalty and extrajudicial killings in Africa."

The African Union-backed group, whose decisions are not binding, advocates for the death penalty to be abolished.

Mauritanian authorities have not commented on Mkheitir's fate since November.

Some 20 NGOs have since asked the country's authorities to end the "secrecy" and guarantee the safety of the blogger, who is in his thirties.

The case contributed to Mauritania falling 17 spots in Reporters Without Borders' 2018 World Press Freedom Index, the biggest drop of any African nation.

The death sentence has not been applied in Mauritania since 1987.

Source: middle-east-online.com, May 11, 2018


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