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First Saudi Human Rights Association for Abolishing Execution Launched

Following last month's court ruling to dissolve the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) and to confiscate its (nonexistent) properties, a group of activists yesterday announced a new independent association called the Union for Human Rights. Among its stated goals, the association is seeking an end to deterrent executions, an issue rarely raised in the kingdom.

The co-founders are four activists, one of whom is Mohammad Abudllah al-Otibi who had been detained for three years starting in January 2009 after trying to organize a peaceful Gaza solidarity demonstration.

Several political analysts have noted that the fact that ACPRA had taken political positions, such as demanding a constitutional monarchy, made it a more vulnerable target for authority's crack down. It seems that the Union for Human Rights is planning to take a different direction by avoiding political demands. The founding statement [ar] stated:

وليس لهذه الجمعية غايات سياسية أو حزبية أو دينية، لذلك فإن جمعية الاتحاد لحقوق الإنسان تقف مع حقوق الإنسان الأساسية دون تفرقة في الدين او العرق او العنصر أو ذكراً أو انثى.

And the association has no political, sectarian or religious goals. For that reason, the Union for Human Rights stands for fundamental human rights without discrimination on the basis of religion, race or gender.

Amnesty International has reported that Saudi Arabia has been beheading nearly two people per week since the beginning of 2013. In September 2012, excision standards were relaxed [ar] by canceling the judge censuses requirement, allowing for execution sentences to pass by a majority vote. Most executions in Saudi Arabia are “deterrent” and many of them are related to drug and robbery offenses. However, “deterrent executions” are not the only ones. The other category is “retributive excisions”, which are applied in murder cases.

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