Saudi Arabia has carried out the execution of a Yemeni man convicted over the stabbing of at least three Spanish dancers during a live performance at a festival in the capital Riyadh last year.
Emad Al-Mansouri, 33, was found guilty on several charges by a special court that tries terrorism cases and had linked him to the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, although they have not claimed responsibility. The interior ministry announced yesterday that Al-Mansouri was put to death in Riyadh. A second man was reportedly sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison for aiding and abetting Al-Mansouri and sending funds to Al-Qaeda in Yemen.
The attack on 11 November left two men and a woman with “superficial wounds” which were stabilised after medical care was administered, state media reported at the time. Earlier this week, it was also reported that under the five-year reign of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, the kingdom has carried out 800 executions, the majority of which were against political opponents of his son, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), who was appointed in 2017.
Under initiatives by MBS, the kingdom has been undergoing an attempt to promote a moderate image abroad, which has included reversing decades-old bans on public entertainment with mixed genders in attendance, women being allowed to drive and to visit sporting events. In December of last year, Saudi hosted the MDL Beast Festival, lauded as the region’s largest music festival, although it was tarnished with multiple allegations of sexual assault by female attendees and performers alike.
The reforms are part of MBS’ so-called Vision 2030, which also includes the multi-billion dollar futuristic mega-city known as NEOM. A Saudi tribal activist was reportedly killed by security forces for refusing to abandon his home which was to be bulldozed to make way for the construction.