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Execution of Death Penalty on Minors in Saudi Arabia Is a Violation of Right to Life & International Instruments

Cairo – October 30th, 2010

With deep concern, The Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary & the Legal Profession (ACIJLP) received news about the endorsement of the Supreme Court in Saudi Arabia to the death penalty imposed on the Sri Lankan servant (Rizana Navek) in October 24th, 2010 in an overt violation of the relevant international legislations and instruments especially The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

ACIJLP is also concerned with the trial to which Navek was subjected and its lack of the least fair trial guarantees.

Navek Arrived to Saudi Arabia in May 2005 to work as a servant for a Saudi family belonging to Al-Ateeby tribe. She used to take care of their four-year child, but after two weeks he died. At that time, she was 17 years old as Human Rights Watch mentioned. After that she was subjected to trial as accused of murder and the Saudi court imposed death penalty on her in 2007. Navek denied her confession adding that she was forced to confess and that the child died of asphyxiation while he was drinking.

ACIJLP believes that by imposing death penalty on the seventeen-year Navek, Saudi Arabia overtly violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which it ratified in 16/4/1416 Hijri corresponding to 11/9/1995 under the Royal Decree No. M/7. Article 37(a) stipulates that “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age".

ACIJLP calls upon the Saudi competent authorities to comply with its international commitments, reconsider the issue of imposing death penalty on minors, and pay attention to the international instrument; specifically “The Guarantees of Those Facing Death Penalty” ratified by the UN Economic & Social Council under Resolution No. 1984/50 in 25/5/1984.

ACIJLP calls upon

  • The international community organizations especially the UN and the relevant international organizations to urge the Saudi Authorities to halt death penalty execution immediately in compliance with the international covenants and institutions ratified by Saudi Arabia.
  • ACIJLP calls upon the Saudi authorities to halt death penalty execution immediately and permanently to enforce the right to life.
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