SAUDI ARABIA: DRAMATIC DROP IN EXECUTIONS AFTER LAWS CHANGED IN 2020
January 19, 2021:
Saudi Arabia, for years one of the world's most prolific executioners, dramatically reduced the number of people put to death last year, following changes halting executions for non-violent drug-related crimes, according to the government’s tally and independent observers. (Source: AP, 18/01/2021)
The Saudi government’s Human Rights Commission said on 18 January it documented 27 executions in 2020. That's compared to an all-time high of 184 executions the year before as documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The change represents an 85% reduction in the number of people put to death last year, compared to 2019.
"The sharp decrease was brought about in part by a moratorium on death penalties for drug-related offences," the Saudi rights commission said.
When asked by The Associated Press, the commission said the new law ordering a stop to such executions came into effect sometime last year. The new directive for judges does not appear to have been published publicly and it was not immediately clear whether the law was changed by royal decree, as is typically the case.
The AP previously reported that Saudi Arabia last year also ordered an end to the death penalty for crimes committed by minors and ordered judges to end the controversial practice of public flogging, replacing it with jail time, fines or community service.