Execution of Hussein Abo al-Kheir – and over 1000 others in Saudi Arabia with 81 people killed in a single day. Minister urged to raise their use of capital punishment at the UN Human rights Council and with Islamic Scholars. Time to outlaw this barbarism worldwide.

Mar 16, 2023 | News


Lord Alton of Liverpool 


My Lords, although I recognise the undoubted role that the Minister plays and his undoubted concern, is not the killing of Hussein Abo al-Kheir just part of a shocking pattern that we have seen in Saudi Arabia? Can the Minister confirm that, between 2010 and 2021, at least 1,243 people were executed in Saudi Arabia; that, in 2022, at least 147 people were executed in one of the bloodiest years on record there; and that, on 12 March last year, 81 people were killed in a single day, some of them charged with things such as deviant beliefs? The executions are usually carried out by beheading with a sword and hanging is often performed in public, with decisions taken behind closed doors and court documents forbidden from being published. It even affects minors: a child of 14 was executed. Is the Minister taking this matter up with the United Nations Human Rights Council and talking to Islamic scholars about challenging things that are done under religious statutes?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon 


My Lords, in the interests of time, let me assure the noble Lord that we discuss the death penalty very much in multilateral fora, including the Human Rights Council. As I alluded to the right reverend Prelate, we must also contextualise our approach and make it clear that the extreme nature of this is against our principles—indeed, if they are to exercise the death penalty, we must define what the nature of it should be.

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