According to Navid Shahed website, Half of the executed prisoners are political prisoners who have been detained years ago for their participation in peaceful rallies against the Saudi regime, and they come from the highly Shia-populated eastern regions of Qatif and Ahsaa.
The 41 martyrs who exercised their supposedly legitimate right to express their opinion and demand justice and equality in their country, were gathered in a same list with ‘terror’ cases to deceive the local and international public opinions that the punishment was based on ‘terror’ charges.
Added to the bloody crime, the Saudi intelligence apparatus banned the families of the 41 martyrs from holding memorial ceremonies; not even to create a WhatsApp group to receive messages of condolences. The Saudi regime’s intelligence further threatened them not to speak up at all.
In an announcement on Saturday, the state-run Saudi Press Agency said 81 inmates, including seven Yemenis and a Syrian, were executed, alleging that the suspects had been convicted of a variety of crimes, including killings and belonging to militant groups.
The latest executions by Saudi authorities in one day exceeded the total number of executions conducted in the Arab kingdom throughout 2021.
According to the announcement, the executions included people “convicted of various crimes, including the murdering of innocent men, women and children.” It also said among the executed were alleged members of the Takfiri terrorist groups of al-Qaeda and Daesh.
Furthermore, a number of purported members of Yemen’s popular Ansarullah movement were among the executed. The resistance movement has significantly helped the Yemeni army against a Saudi-led military coalition that has been waging a war on the Yemeni nation since March 2015.
The war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases.
“The accused were provided with the right to an attorney and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process, which found them guilty of committing multiple heinous crimes that left a large number of civilians and law enforcement officers dead,” the Saudi Press Agency said.
“The kingdom will continue to take a strict and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world.”
Takfiri terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and Daesh are widely believed to have their ideological roots in Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia.
Wahhabism is blamed for forming Takfirism - the practice of denouncing subscribers to other schools of thought as “apostates” and considering their lives to be expendable.
The kingdom’s last mass execution occurred in early January 2016, when Saudi authorities executed 47 people, including prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who had vociferously called for democracy in the kingdom and advocated anti-regime protests. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif, Eastern Province, in 2012.
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has reportedly executed more than 900 prisoners in an increasing rate. In 2019 alone, Saudi Arabia set a record number of executions after Saudi authorities executed 184 people, despite a general decrease in the number of executions around the world.
In April 2020, Reprieve, a UK-based non-profit organization, said Saudi Arabia had carried out its 800th execution. The report added that executions had almost doubled in only five years in comparison with the 423 executions conducted in Saudi Arabia from 2009 through 2014.
Saudi- Arabia’s Eastern Province, which is largely populated by the Shia minority, has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region. The protests have met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime.
Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.