Saudi regime beheading children, disabled people

This December 2012 video is called Saudi Arabia – Oppression of Expression – Support Raif Badawi, Turki Al-Hamad and Hamza Kashgari.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Saudi Arabia executes ‘a person every two days’ as rate of beheadings soars under King Salman

Those killed include children and people with mental disabilities

Adam Withnall

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Saudi Arabia has executed at least 175 people in the past year, at a rate of one every two days, according to a report by Amnesty International.

The kingdom killed 102 convicted criminals in the first six months of 2015 alone, putting it on course to beat its 1995 record number for the calendar year of 192. Those killed included children under the age of 18 at the time of the offence, and disabled people.

Amnesty, which alongside the AFP news agency keeps a record of the number of people the Saudi government kills, said the execution rate suddenly surged in August last year and continued to rise under the new King Salman from January.

According to a new 44-page report released by the charity today, at least 2,208 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since January 1985.

Nearly half of those, 48.5 per cent, were of foreign nationals, who Amnesty said suffer disproportionately under the Saudi justice system because of a combination of xenophobic prejudice and a lack of Arabic to understand proceedings.

More than one in four – 28 per cent since 1991 – have been for drug-related offences, and death sentences were also given for other crimes not considered the “most serious” – or even illegal at all – under international standards. They include adultery, “apostasy”, witchcraft and sorcery.

Said Boumedouha, Amnesty’s acting Middle East director, said the Saudi justice system which authorised the killings was “deeply-flawed”.

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He said: “The use of the death penalty is horrendous in all circumstances, and is particularly deplorable when it is arbitrarily applied after blatantly unfair trials.

“Instead of defending the country’s appalling record, the Saudi Arabian authorities should urgently establish an official moratorium on executions and implement international fair trial standards in all criminal cases.”

Beheadings in public

Amnesty said that Saudi Arabia carried out most of its executions in the period by beheading, although some were killed by firing squad.

Despite UN calls for the end of executions by [sic; in] public, many convicts were beheaded in either the public square of the town or city where they were sentenced, or in other publically-accessible spaces.

In some cases, the remains of those executed were displayed in public as a deterrent to others, Amnesty said. Typically done in cases of “haraba” or banditry, this involved tying the decapitated corpse along with the victim’s head in a bag to a post in a public square.

Children and disabled people

Amnesty’s report highlighted two recent cases where vulnerable people were sentenced to death in clear violation of international standards and laws – including conventions to which Saudi Arabia is a party.

It said that on 27 May last year, a court in Jeddah convicted and sentenced to death a young man named Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, who was 16 or at most 17 when he was accused of committing crimes of demonstrating against the government, attacking the security forces and armed robbery.

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Amnesty said Ali al-Nimr was largely convicted on the basis of signed “confessions”, which he has said were extracted under torture.

This year, on 14 April, the kingdom executed an Indonesian mother of two and domestic worker accused of killing her employer. Despite reports that the security forces believed Siti Zainab Binti Duhri Rupa suffered from a severe mental disability, she was interrogated and made to “confess” in 1999. Amnesty said she had no legal representation throughout her detention and trial.

No access

Amnesty said its report, “‘Killing in the Name of Justice’: the death penalty in Saudi Arabia”, was compiled based on interviews with those who had been sentenced to death, their legal teams or their families.

It also analysed legal documents, and kept track of government releases and reports on death sentences from official news outlets.

But the charity said it has never been granted access to the country itself, or received a single response on its findings or letters from the Saudi government.

In some cases, it said, families and convicts were told their cases would only be “complicated” if they tried to contact international bodies, and that they could only receive pardons if they didn’t do so. Relatives only went to Amnesty in such cases after they found they had been lied to.

Saudi Arabia ranked third in an Amnesty study of the top countries in the world for numbers of executions last year. It was behind China and Iran [both countries with many more inhabitants than Saudi Arabia], but ahead of Iraq and the US.

The kingdom has rarely commented in public on the harshest punishments in its system of religion-backed Sharia law. In a rare interview in 2003, a man described as the country’s leading executioner told Arab News he was “very proud to do God’s work”.

See also here.

Saudi royal air force keeps killing Yemeni children

This video says about itself:

Yemen: Injured children arrive in hospital amid Saudi-led carnage

26 March 2015

Patients including young children at Al mo’ayed hospital in Sana’a were forced to share hospital beds or lie on the floor after a Saudi-led air attack struck the Yemeni capital on Thursday morning. The death toll from the strikes remains unconfirmed but estimates put the figure at between 13-25 civilians dead, with at least 40 more wounded.

By Niles Williamson:

Yemen faces humanitarian crisis as US-backed assault continues

20 August 2015

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported on Tuesday that nearly 8 children have been killed or wounded every day in the course of the air assault on Yemen spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, which began earlier this year.

The bombing has been more or less continuous, with multiple ceasefire agreements and so-called humanitarian pauses breached almost as soon as they were announced. Saudi Arabia and its allies have been seeking to push back the Houthi militias that seized control of most of Yemen’s western provinces in March, including the southern port city of Aden.

The countries contributing forces to the Saudi-led war include Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Sudan and Qatar. In less than five months, coalition jets have launched thousands of air strikes.

While the attack is nominally headed by Saudi Arabia, the Obama administration has made it possible by providing coalition jets with midair refueling and both intelligence for targeting strikes and the bombs necessary to carry them out. The coalition has deployed American-made laser-guided bombs as well as internationally outlawed cluster munitions.

Washington recently more than doubled, from 20 to 45, the number of advisors working at joint military operations centers in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. US spy satellites and drones relay live video of bomb targets to the coalition’s operations centers.

The Saudi monarchy and the US are seeking to reinstate former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who was forced to flee the country in the face of a Houthi assault on Aden. …

According to official UNICEF tallies, there have been more than a thousand child causalities as a result of the unrelenting aerial assault by coalition jets and fierce fighting between pro-Houthi and anti-Houthi forces on the ground. Since March 26, at least 398 children have been killed by bombs and bullets, with a further 605 wounded. Children account for one quarter of the officially counted casualties so far.

Months of air strikes and fierce fighting on the ground between pro-Houthi and anti-Houthi forces have devastated much of the country’s infrastructure, killed more than 4,000, and plunged tens of millions into a dire humanitarian crisis.

Ten million children, approximately 80 percent of the country’s population under 18 years old, are in urgent need of some form of humanitarian aid. With at least one quarter of health facilities no longer providing vaccinations, at least 2.5 million children are at risk of contracting measles, a highly contagious and often deadly disease.

With electricity knocked out in many places and severe fuel shortages, at least 20.4 million Yemenis lack access to clean drinking water, putting many at risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera. Without a safe source of water, 2.5 million children are at risk of diarrheal diseases and another 1.5 million could fall victim to acute respiratory tract infections.

UNICEF also reported that at least 1.8 million children are falling behind in their education, as nearly 400 school buildings have been damaged or destroyed by air strikes and artillery shelling. Another 346 school facilities are being used as shelters for displaced families or have been requisitioned by armed militias.

A report by Amnesty International also released on Tuesday, titled “Nowhere Safe for Civilians,” documents the destruction being unleashed on the population of the Arab world’s poorest country. Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response advisor at Amnesty International, said the report outlined the “bloody trail of death and destruction in Ta’iz and Aden from unlawful attacks, which may amount to war crimes, by all parties.”

The report describes eight Saudi coalition air strikes in southern Yemen that killed 141 civilians and injured 101, mostly women and children. Amnesty International reports numerous strikes that apparently deliberately targeted civilians and non-military targets, including schools being used as shelters and food markets.

An air strike on July 24 on dormitories housing workers at the Steam Power Plant and their families in the southwestern city of Mokha killed 63 people and injured another 50. Amnesty’s researchers found no indications that housing units had been used for any military purpose by the Houthis.

A coalition air strike on July 9 killed ten members of the Faraa family in the village of Tahrur, north of Aden, when a bomb was dropped on the Mus’ab ben Omar school. At least a dozen families had taken up shelter in the school after being displaced by fighting. Again, the Amnesty researchers found no evidence that the building had ever been used for military purposes.

On July 6, the Saudi coalition dropped bombs on a livestock market in Fayush, killing up to 40 people and injuring many others. Residents who survived the attack reported a normal day of buying and selling of goats, sheep and other animals until the bombs fell.

“They were normal people, some desperate people who had reluctantly come to sell their animals because they have no other income to feed their children,” a market seller told the Amnesty researchers. “There was no fighting around here and there were no Houthis, just some unlucky people.”

On the same day these reports were released, Saudi coalition jets launched an attack on the port in the city of Hodeida. This port had been the main location for receiving deliveries of emergency aid for the country’s northern provinces. According to local officials, four cranes used for loading and unloading ships were destroyed, while nearby warehouses were also bombed, bringing work at the port to a halt.

The anti-Houthi forces on the ground backed by Saudi Arabia, known as Popular Resistance Committees, are composed of military units loyal to Hadi, members of the Islamist Islah party, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, separatist fighters from the Southern Movement, and fighters from both Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State (ISIS).

Thousands of Saudi and UAE troops have been deployed to Yemen to assist these forces in the push against the Houthis, which has gained momentum with the recapture of Aden and the nearby Al Anad airbase by pro-Hadi forces at the end of July.

Defense News reported on August 4 that, in advance of the offensive that retook Al Anad, 2,800 Saudi coalition Special Forces had been deployed in Aden along with LeClerc main battle tanks and other armored vehicles operated by the UAE. So far, at least five UAE troops have been reported killed in the fighting.

In Yemen, the United States is in a de facto alliance with AQAP and ISIS against the Houthis, despite being officially at war with AQAP and continuing its campaign of drone strikes against the group’s leadership in Yemen, while it carries out daily air strikes against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria.

The Saudi coalition has refrained from launching any air strikes against AQAP forces, even as it has taken control of large portions of the eastern province of Hadhramaut, including its main city Mukalla, as well as portions of Abyan province.

‘Saudi war crimes in Yemen’, Human Rights Watch says

This video says about itself:

Yemen: Coalition Airstrikes Decimate Community

27 July 2015

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes that killed at least 65 civilians, including 10 children, and wounded dozens in the Yemeni port city of Mokha on July 24, 2015, are an apparent war crime. Starting between 9:30 and 10 p.m., coalition airplanes repeatedly struck two residential compounds of the Mokha Steam Power Plant, which housed plant workers and their family members.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Human Rights Watch suspects war crime in Yemen

14 August 2015, 22:42

“We have removed bodies from the rubble, parts of bodies. A head, hands …” For the residents of the port of Mocha in Yemen it was a horrible tragedy.

On Friday July 24 there were nine bombs on residential blocks. 65 civilians were killed, including ten children.

Saudi Arabia

“This was without doubt an air raid of the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia,” said Belkis Wille of Human Rights Watch. She visited the city of Mocha shortly after the attack and filmed the survivors.

The researcher is in the Netherlands for a short time. “It was a horrific picture. The bombs came down on housing complexes where employees live a power plant. The dead were technicians and their families.”

Human Rights Watch said there was no apparent military target and the raid would therefore be very similar to a war crime. The human rights organization wants a UN commission investigating the Saudi attacks and other war crimes in Yemen.

The dead were technicians and their families.
Belkis Wille, Human Rights Watch

Wille: “The Saudi coalition denied that they were behind the attack in Mocha, but we have clear evidence. We have spoken to dozens of eyewitnesses, they saw the aircraft and heard them. The Houthi rebels do not have the capacity to do this kind of air attacks.”

According to Wille, there are also dozens of other bombings with many civilian deaths. “But until now still nothing has been investigated and no one has been held accountable.”

Wille hopes that the Netherlands will be firmly committed to a commission of inquiry. She spoke today in The Hague, including with the new Dutch ambassador to Yemen.

UAE government sending conscripts to die in Saudi war in Yemen

This video from the USA says about itself:

American Mercenaries Hired by United Arab Emirates

16 May 2011

American expatriate Erik Prince‘s Blackwater mercenaries have been paid 500 million dollars by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) dictators. Cenk Uygur lays out why this is a very bad idea.

From Middle East Eye:

Emirati families shocked as UAE sends conscripts into Yemen battle

The UAE introduced military service in 2014 and sources in the Gulf state have claimed that conscripts are now being sent to fight in Yemen

Tuesday 11 August 2015 10:54 UTC

The United Arab Emirates is sending conscripts to Yemen as part of military operations to support the Saudi-led coalition in reinstating the exiled government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Sources close to families who have had their sons sent to Yemen told Middle East Eye that they are shocked young men doing their military service would be sent to a war zone, as they have no combat experience.

The UAE is estimated to have deployed at least 1,500 troops to Yemen, although no official numbers have been released. The troops are said to be part of a 3,000 strong Saudi-UAE force, which is rumoured to also include Egyptian soldiers, and is equipped with French battle tanks, Russian fighting vehicles and American troop carriers.

Saudi Arabia launched a coalition in March to launch airstrikes against Houthi militiamen, who had seized large swathes of Yemen and forced President Hadi into exile in Riyadh. The conflict has plunged the Arab world’s poorest nation into a dire humanitarian crisis, with 80 percent of the country’s 25 million people requiring aid assistance, according to the United Nations.

Gulf Arab states view the Houthis as being backed by Iran and the conflict in Yemen is often described as being a proxy war for regional rivalries. The Houthis have admitted their alliance with Iran but denied acting as their proxy in Yemen – the Saada-based group is rooted in local grievances and have long complained of political and economic marginalisation.

A private secretary to President Hadi recently told a Saudi newspaper that the Emirati soldiers deployed in Yemen are in the south-west city of Aden and will protect the port’s airport as well as provide support to the Yemeni army in operating “sensitive devices” that they are not familiar with using.

Two Emirati sources who are independent of each other told Middle East Eye that conscripts are being deployed to Yemen as part of the UAE force.

“To us this is a shock,” said one source, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue.

“These young men are forced to do military service and should not be taken to hot conflict areas. They are civilians who are supposed to go back to their lives and work after finishing their service.”

The UAE introduced mandatory military service in June last year, which the government said was designed to “instil values of loyalty and sacrifice in the hearts of the citizens”.

Men between 18 and 30 years of age, who have completed high school, serve nine months and those without a high school diploma serve two years. Military service for women is optional.

The Emirati sources said “many” conscripts have been sent to Yemen but neither knew the exact number of conscripts deployed. They added that a number of families have recently been told that their sons will be sent to Yemen while completing their military service.

The UAE has suffered multiple casualties since deploying troops to Yemen. Although there is no official death toll, Yemen’s exiled Vice President Khalid Bahah said on 3 August that a “number” of Emiratis had “sacrificed their lives while supporting legitimacy in Yemen”.

On 8 August the official WAM news agency announced that three Emirati soldiers had been killed after their armoured vehicle was hit by a landmine. Two others were killed in July according to state owned media.

The latest Emirati casualties – who were not conscripts – have been described as “martyrs” by the country’s leaders.

“They have written glory and heroism with their blood for the sake of peace and backing trodden people [in Yemen],” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and vice president of the UAE, while visiting the soldiers’ families to offer his condolences.

Sheikh Mohammed said the country’s leaders would “spare no effort for the welfare of their families” and Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pledged to treat the three slain Emiratis as “Saudi martyrs financially and morally”.

The treatment of the three men as martyrs was criticised as a distraction by the Emirati source close to families who have had their loved ones sent to fight in Yemen.

“Whenever an Emirati dies in war they [the authorities] make the announcement quickly, call him Shaheed (martyr), and top leaders start tweeting about them,” they said. “The leaders then visit the victim’s family and promise them money.”

“They [the authorities] do all that to have people forget the basic question: Why are these guys taken there? Their country is the UAE but they are not defending here. This is their way to divert people’s attention away from this important question.”

Official media said the soldiers’ families were “proud” to have been visited by the country’s leaders, adding that the families had said they “would remain faithful to the UAE and its wise leadership”.

But Emiratis whose sons are being sent to fight in Yemen as conscripts are allegedly taking a different position on the UAE’s military activities.

“Families are angry their sons are being forced into war,” said an Emirati source, again asking to remain anonymous, fearing reprisals from authorities. “But they can’t do anything about it – if they speak out then they will be sent to prison.”

“People will not speak about this in public because it is very dangerous to do so, but in private those affected are not happy.”

Saudi air force killing their allies in Yemen

This video is called Saudi-led strikes pound Yemen, dozens of women & children killed.

Saudi Arabian bombs, including banned US American cluster bombs, are not just destroying beautiful historical homes in Yemen. They are not just killing children, women, refugees, factory workers, market visitors and other civilians in Yemen.

They are killing their own Sunni militia allies.

From Associated Press:

August 9, 2015, 9:25 AM

Saudi-led airstrikes kill 20 in friendly fire incident in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen – A Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Yemen hit allied fighters in a friendly fire incident, killing at least 20, Yemeni security officials and pro-government fighters said Sunday.

The officials said the incident happened late Saturday as the fighters were on a coastal road heading toward the embattled city of Zinjibar in southern Yemen. …

The United Arab Emirates said Saturday that three of its soldiers were killed while taking part in a Saudi-led campaign.

The statement carried by the official news agency WAM did not say how the soldiers were killed or whether they died in Yemen.

The ruler of the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah led funeral services for the three corporals on Sunday. A total of five Emirati soldiers have been killed in battle since March.

This is not the first time.

From AFP news agency:

July, 28 2015 11:20:00

Friendly fire’ kills Yemen loyalists despite truce

Although there were no reports of air strikes on the rebels yesterday, military sources reported a “friendly fire” incident in which coalition warplanes hit positions of Hadi loyalists in the southern province of Lahj, killing 12 people.

At least 30 others were wounded in the strikes on hills overlooking the rebel-held Al-Anad airbase, as well as in nearby Radfan, the sources said.

There was no immediate comment by the Saudi-led coalition.

British government stops anti-death penalty campaigns

This video is about the death penalty by beheading against a woman in Saudi Arabia who cries out that she is innocent.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Anti-death penalty campaigns ditched

Tuesday 4th August 2015

Tories scrap support for anti-capital punishment projects

THE Tories are set to scrap Britain’s support for projects working to end the death penalty across the world, human rights campaigners warned yesterday.

Many were left alarmed as a revision of the Foreign Office (FCO) human rights priorities seemed to leave out all reference to abolishing capital punishment.

According to legal charity Reprieve, verbal confirmation was given by the FCO that the government’s Strategy for the Abolition of the Death Penalty will not be renewed in January 2016.

Reprieve’s director of the death penalty team Maya Foa said: “At a time when executions in countries around the world are spiking, it is alarming that the government is ditching its strategy on the death penalty.

“With Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran all executing at a rate we haven’t seen for years, Britain’s move will send the wrong signal.”

Michael Gove – the new Justice Secretary in David Cameron’s Conservative government– called for the return of the death penalty by hanging in Britain. Maybe the British government thinks: ‘If we would like death by hanging in Britain, then we can hardly object to death by beheading in our ally, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.’

The policy, which has been in place since 2010, was once described the former foreign minister David Lidington as a “firm goal.”

Campaigners raised further concerns as the FCO seemed to downgrade countries such as China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia from its list of “countries of concern” and renaming them “priority countries.”

In a letter sent to Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond last week, Ms Foa said she feared changes meant “the government will end all ring-fenced funding for death penalty projects and significantly scale back the FCO’s human rights department.

“Britain has a long and praise-worthy history of speaking out against the use of the death penalty.

“Reprieve respectfully requests that the government urgently reconsider its current course of action.”

Reprieve, which is not funded by the FCO human rights department, relies on its legal work on death penalty cases to survive.