Saudi Arabia executed 120 people in the first six months of 2022, nearly double the number of those executed in the whole of last year despite promises by Riyadh to reduce the use of the death penalty, according to the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR).
After a significant decline in 2020, 65 people were executed in 2021, and in just the first six months of this year, the number nearly doubled by June, with figures exceeding those for 2020 and 2021 combined.
The ESOHR stated: "If Saudi Arabia continues to execute people at the same pace during the second half of 2022, they will reach an unprecedented number of executions, exceeding the record high of 186 executions in 2019."
It noted that the decline in executions in 2020 was partly due to the closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, before the rate increased with the easing of epidemic precautions in 2021.
The organisation monitored a number of cases in which detainees are facing the death penalty, as 30 detainees are sentenced to the death penalty, including those facing charges related to expressing opinion and demonstrating, five of whom are minors.
The ESOHR pointed out that this list does not include those accused of criminal cases due to the lack of transparency and the difficulty of accessing cases. It was not able to access all cases in which individuals are facing charges related to peaceful activity.
The organisation also documented violations of fair trial, the use of torture, and prisoners being forced to sign confessions. Detainees are also unable to hire lawyers until their trials begin, limiting their defence's ability to complete the necessary work.
The Saudi government prohibits independent human rights bodies from operating in the kingdom, and bans the establishment of civil society organisations and associations.