Saudi Arabia 2022
Individuals who peacefully exercised their rights to free expression and association were attacked by officials. Individuals were taken to court after spurious charges were filed against them for peaceful expression or the formation of community organizations, and they were sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Human rights defenders were harassed in prison and faced arbitrary travel limitations after their conditional release. Courts used the death penalty even in cases involving adolescents at the time of the alleged offense, and people were sentenced to death for a variety of offenses.
Thousands of residents were forcibly expelled from the seaside city of Jeddah. The intentional maltreatment and exploitation of migrant labor persisted, and thousands of people were unlawfully held in horrific conditions. Many unknowingly deported to their home countries as part of a nationwide crackdown on unauthorized migrants. The country’s first personal status law, addressing gender equality and discrimination against women, was enacted.
On September 27, King Salman elevated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the office of Prime Minister, which he previously held.
The European Parliament published a statement on the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia in March, denouncing the March 12 mass killings and urging for an immediate suspension on the death sentence.
American Vice President Joe Biden visited Saudi Arabia in July. Toward the conclusion of that month, Saudi Arabia issued the Jeddah Declaration, which made no pledges to human rights.
On November 6, Saudi Arabia and the European Union had their second human rights dialogue in Riyadh. The EU raised worry about the significant increase in death sentences, as well as issues with assembly rights.
Armed Conflicts in Yemen :
Saudi Arabia-led coalition continued to be implicated in war crimes and other serious violations of international law in the long-standing armed conflict in Yemen.
Freedom of Expression and Association :
Following unfair trials relating to their peaceful expression or cooperation on Twitter, the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) condemned at least 15 individuals, including citizens and foreign nationals, to prison terms ranging from 15 to 45 years. The SCC sentenced at least two female human rights campaigners to lengthy prison terms.
Individuals freed during the year were subject to onerous terms like as travel bans and the closure of their social media accounts, among other things, even after serving their sentences.
The SCC affirmed a 34-year jail sentence against PHD student and activist Salma al-Shahab in connection with her writing and nonviolent Twitter activity in favour of women’s rights in an appeal hearing on August 9. Her enforced disappearance began after six years in prison. Her heavy sentencing was based on the judge’s discretion, referring to paragraphs 34, 38, 43, and 44 of the counter-terrorism code, accusing her of “undermining public order and destabilizing the security and stability of the state” through the posting of tweets.
Following their release in October, ten Nubian men from Egypt were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 to 18 years for organizing a peaceful remembrance ceremony on Twitter.
Human Rights Defenders :
Associations were still illegal under the legislation, and human rights defenders and campaigners were unjustly arrested, harassed, or subjected to arbitrary travel bans, limiting their freedom of expression. Dozens of people were still imprisoned for their human rights activism.
Raif Badawi, a blogger and activist, was conditionally freed in March after serving ten years in prison for creating an online platform for public debate that was deemed derogatory to Islam. A ten-year travel ban was issued as part of his sentencing.
Mohammed al-Qahtani, a human rights defender and founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, was detained in May and barred from seeing his family until the end of the year. Another prisoner attacked him in the same ward, causing mental health difficulties.
Capital Punishment :
Individuals found guilty of murder, armed robbery, rape, drug trafficking, and terrorism-related acts were condemned to death and executed following profoundly defective trials. The Saudi Human Rights Commission told Amnesty International in February that 27 people were executed on that day.
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