Committee Reports

Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Executions in Saudi Arabia


With help from the Capital Punishment Committee (Art C. Cody, Chair), President Debra Raskin sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing serious concern about recent executions in Saudi Arabia, and urging diplomatic action with respect to the anticipated executions of several youths who allegedly committed crimes when they were under the age of eighteen. Saudi Arabia recently executed 47 individuals who were convicted of “terrorism”-related charges tied to a series of attacks in 2003 and 2004, although it is not clear which of these individuals, if any, participated in the actual planning or commission of the attacks. One of those executed was a Shi-a cleric who was not convicted of any crime directly related to the terrorist attacks, and is believed to have been punished for being a vocal but peaceful opponent of Saudi Arabia’s discrimination against its Shi-a minority. More recently, the Saudi press have reported another anticipated wave of executions, including those of three young Shi-a men, who were arrested at ages 16 and 17 on “terrorism”-related charges and, according to Amnesty International, convicted on the basis of coerced confessions elicited through torture.