Saudi Arabia kills 81 people in mass execution

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March 12 (UPI) — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Saturday mass executed 81 people.

The execution of 81 people in a single day is believed to be the biggest mass execution in the history of the country, surpassing a mass execution in 1980 when 63 people were convicted and beheaded for seizing the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979, Deutsche Welle reported.

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The executions on Saturday were carried out based on sentences of capital punishment for convictions of terrorism and capital crimes, Saudi’s Ministry of Interior announced in the country’s state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Among the crimes committed that the ministry announced were the murder of “innocent men, women and children” and aligning with terrorist groups such as ISIS, Al Qaeda and Houthis, targeting Saudi residents.

The ministry also announced that the individual crimes included targeting government personnel, the killing and maiming of law enforcement officers, planting bombs that targeted their vehicles and the smuggling of arms and bombs into the country. Other charges included kidnapping, torture and rape.

The individuals who were executed were found guilty of “committing multiple heinous crimes that left a large number of civilian and law enforcement officers dead,” the SPA reported.

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Each individual was seen by 13 judges over three separate stages of trial and provided with an attorney, according to the SPA.

Still, a Britain-based campaign group advocating for justice and human rights, Reprieve, condemned the mass execution.

“The world should know by now that when Mohammed Bin Salman promises reform, bloodshed is bound to follow,” Reprieve said in a series of tweets condemning the mass execution on Saturday.

“Just last week the Crown Prince told journalists he plans to modernize Saudi Arabia’s criminal justice system, only to order the largest mass execution in the country’s history,” Reprieve continued. “There are prisoners of conscience on Saudi death row, and others arrested as children or charged with non-violent crimes. We fear for everyone of them following this brutal display of impunity.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia “soon, to beg for Saudi oil to replace Russian gas,” Reprieve added.

“We cannot show our revulsion for Putin’s atrocities by rewarding those of the Crown Prince,” Repreive said. “Johnson must speak up and condemn these killings.”