Middle East Crisis
Saudi, Iranian Executions Skyrocket

Executions are soaring in Saudi Arabia even as both external and internal threats have the KSA’s government feeling threatened. The Independent reported yesterday:

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.

International legal safeguards and norms proportional punishment were both ignored, and some very horrible stuff—including the use of torture to generate confessions—is undoubtedly at work here.

Saudi Arabia is not alone. As regional unrest grows, leading powers in the area are cracking down internally. Tehran, for example, broke its own record on capital punishment last year, and is set to do so again this year. According to an Amnesty report released in June, Iranian executions are much higher than officially reported—over one per day, a pace that would mean over one thousand this year.

Internal repression, human rights abuses—many of the leading concerns of Wilsonian humanitarians, in short—are often in the Middle East inextricably tied to the state’s perception of security concerns. Until the wars stop and regional sectarian concerns are alleviated, expect to see more news like this.

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