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Saudi Arabia - Universal Periodic Review - Death Penalty - July 2023

Date: July 18, 2023
Country: Saudi Arabia
Type: Intl Mechanism Submission
Issues: Death Penalty
Mechanism: Universal Periodic Review
Report Type: Stakeholder Report
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This report addresses Saudi Arabia's compliance with its international human rights obligations with respect to the death penalty; prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; conditions of detention; and administration of justice and fair trial. 

Saudi Arabia has not abolished the death penalty or implemented a moratorium on executions, nor has it limited the application of the death penalty to the "most serious" crimes. The people under sentence of death in Saudi Arabia experience poor detention conditions, including torture and solitary confinement in "condemned cells," in violation of the Nelson Mandela Rules.  

This report examines the current state of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia and recommends Saudi Arabia abolish the death penalty and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This report further recommends, in the meantime, that Saudi Arabia: (1) institute an official moratorium on executions, (2) limit the death penalty to the "most serious" crimes, as defined by international human rights standards, (3) limit the discretion of judges as it relates to Ta'zir, (4) prohibit imposition of the death penalty for anyone under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged crime(5) ensure timely access to competent counsel for all capital defendants, (6) take comprehensive steps to eliminate the use of torture and ensure that courts do not consider evidence obtained through tortureand (7) commute death sentences for all people who have been held in condemned cells.