Home » Other News » Lawyer Al-Hajji calls on countries to not support Saudi Arabia’s re-election to Human Rights Council membership

Lawyer Al-Hajji calls on countries to not support Saudi Arabia’s re-election to Human Rights Council membership

لقرائته بالعربية اضغط هنا

On 28 September 2020, in the framework of discussions on Item 4 of the 45th session of the HRC, a speech was given on behalf of lawyer Taha al-Hajji.

Al-Hajji noted that he was formerly a lawyer in Saudi Arabia who spent his life defending his clients, among them children who faced the risk of execution in Saudi Arabia. For this “crime,” he now lives in exile.

Al-Hajji stressed that, since King Salman rose to power, his government has executed 11 detainees for crimes allegedly committed when they were children. He further explained that the government lied to the HRC member states in 2018, when it claimed that it does not execute children, only to execute six minors the following year.

In his speech, al-Hajji pointed out that, although the Saudi Human Rights Commission announced in August and April that the government had abolished the death penalty against minors, it is acknowledged in private circles that the death penalty continues to exist for certain categories of crime.

Al-Hajji indicated that the Saudi government submitted a review in which it said it would review known death sentences before this council, such as the case of Ali al-Nimr, yet children like Mohammed al-Farraj, who was arrested for attending a funeral at the age of nine, remain at risk of execution. He believes that in public the Saudi government declares that it has abolished the death penalty for all minors, while in secret it hopes that the HRC states do not know the facts.

Furthermore, Al-Hajji noted that the Saudi government is seeking re-election to membership on the HRC in this very session, in the next few days, and called on states to not vote for Saudi Arabia until it fulfills its promises to completely end the execution of children.

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