Seven men executed in Saudi Arabia after being convicted of robberyBy Mason White 4:28 AM March 14, 2013
By: Moses Gold
Saudi Arabia executed several men after they were convicted of robbery related crimes as adolescents, the Saudi government said in a press release.
A firing squad executed the seven Saudi men convicted of armed robbery in a public ceremony, despite last-minute appeals from rights groups that their lives be spared, the Home Office and a witness, said. This brings the number of people executed in Saudi Arabia so far this year to 26.
The convicts were convicted of “forming a gang that carried out several armed robberies and thefts with the help of other people,” the ministry said in a statement.
The men were executed “as a punishment for them and to deter others” from carrying out similar crimes, the government said, adding that their fellow thieves were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment and whipping.
A witness said: “The execution was carried out some time ago in a public square in Abha,” adding that the defendants were “shot dead” and were not beheaded.
The announcement came shortly after Amnesty International issued a statement renewing calls on Saudi authorities to stop executions.
Amnesty described the executions as “brutality”.
The seven men, Al Sarhan Mashaikh, Saeed Al Zahrani, Ali Al Shahri, Nasser Al-Qahtani, Saeed Al Shahrani, Abdulaziz Al Amri, and Ali Al Qahtani, were charged with organizing a criminal group, armed robbery, burglary and entering jewelry stores in 2005. They were sentenced to death in 2009.
International rights groups protested that the men, who are now between 20 and 24-years-old, were convicted of crimes committed when they were minors.
“It’s a bloody day when a government kills seven people on the basis of confessions extracted under torture and that are presented in a trial that had no legal representation or appeal, Amnesty International, said.
“The defendants’ families were also threatened,” Amnesty said.
The defendants were not beheaded because the Saudi government could not find any men who were willing to behead the criminals.