Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor has demanded the death penalty be issued against cleric Sheikh Awad Al-Qarni, Prisoners of Conscience Twitter page reported yesterday.
“Sheikh Al-Qarni had appeared before the Kingdom’s Specialised Criminal Court in a private trial, during which the prosecution issued a list of false charges against him and demanded his execution,” the page added.
Al-Qarni was arrested, along with Al-Omari and Al-Oudah, by the Saudi authorities in September 2017 over “terrorism charges”. The three clerics were believed to have been arrested because they did not back Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s policy towards neighbouring Qatar.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of “supporting terrorism”. They also closed land, sea and air routes to it and expelled Qatari citizens.
There are currently at least 58 people on death row in Saudi Arabia, according to the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights. Amnesty International recently said that Saudi Arabia was “one of the most prolific executioners in the world,” beheading at least 100 people in 2017 alone.