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On April 8, 2020, the Saudi government in the al-Bahahregion carried out a qisas [retributive justice] sentence against citizen Abdul Mohsen al-Ghamdi, who had been charged with intentional homicide when he was a child.
Saudi Arabia carried out the death sentence despite urgent appealspublished on social media for the sentence to be commuted or at least postponed until after the end of the Coronavirus crisis sweeping the world.
Al-Ghamdi’s father, Hamoud bin Abdullah al-Ghamdi, requested in a tweet that “those entitled to claim retaliation pardon my son for the sake of God, they are noble and forgiving people. My son made a big mistake, and forgiveness when possible is a noble trait.” The father urged “leaders and kind and good people”to seek out and intercede with“those entitled to claim retaliation” to pardon his son, according to the Saudi newspaper, Sabq.
Al-Ghamdi was reportedly captured in 2012, at the age of 15, after security agencies in the al-Bahah region were notified about a killingat a high school in Ma’shuqa, a region in the governorate of Al Qara, located in the southwest of the country.
Security forces went to the school and learned upon their arrival that the victim was a 17-year-old student. Itemerged that Abdul Mohsen al-Ghamdi had shot his classmateseven times with his pistol, killing him.
ESOHR observed a statement regarding the execution published by the Saudi Ministry of Interior in the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), before it was apparently removed for seemingly unknown reasons. ESOHR had previously documented the Saudi government’s implementation of death sentences without releasing official statements, raising doubts about its credibility with regard to death sentences carried out.
ESOHR stresses that the execution of Abdul Mohsen al-Ghamdi violates international laws, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Saudi Arabia in 1997, which prohibits the death penalty against anyone accused of crimes committed under the age of 18.
ESOHR believes that al-Ghamdi’s execution, in addition to Saudi Arabia’s record of killing minors via the death penalty, confirms Saudi Arabia’s violation of all its international commitments, contrary to its claims. ESOHR affirms the need for the Human Rights Council and the Committee on the Rights of the Child to play a role in protecting the 13 minors currently facing execution.