The execution of three soldiers in Saudi Arabia alleged with “high treason” has been viewed as an act of human rights violation by activists.
In a rare public statement, the defense ministry of Saudi Arabia accused them of colluding with an enemy. No further information about the enemy was provided.
The new series executions take place while the country is heavily involved un intensified military operation in Yemen. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (generally known as MBS), the de facto ruler of the kingdom, seeks to consolidates his influence to guarantee his power.
According to the statement released by the ministry of defense, the soldiers were found guilty of “high treason in collaboration with the enemy.” The statement asserts that the conduct of the soldiers jeopardized the kingdom’s interests and military forces’ security.
Mohammed bin Ahmed, Shaher bin Issa, and Hamoud bin Ibrahim, were named executed while no details about their acts and the enemy they were suspected of helping has been divulged.
Saudi Arabia sees Iran as its largest strategic adversary in the region and the Houthi militia in Yemen, who are backed by Tehran, is observed as a potential threat to the wealthy monarchy. The statement has been assessed an unusual public announcement of military executions in the country, notorious for keeping its armed forces under wraps.
David Des Roches, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington researcher believes that the public announcement of the alleged misconduct proves it to be “to be exceptionally egregious and thus worthy of exemplary punishment.”
Riyadh, along with western allies, initiated aggression against Yemen in 2015, to support the collapsing government. The mission has remained unaccomplished since then and the Houthis have remained and gained power.
Saudi Arabia, having created the worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen (as the UN puts it), has been the target of increasing rocket and drone attacks in the past months.
Military officials confirm that fighting has escalated for the key Yemeni city of Marib in recent weeks, with 53 pro-government and Houthi fighters killed.
The Saudi 35-year-old successor to the throne is tightening his grip on power as a result of the executions. Mohammed, the eldest son of the country’s ailing king, is now regarded as the country’s de-facto ruler. From security to economy and politics, MBS wields power over all major government offices.
He is the Defense Minister, keeping Khalid, his younger brother, as his Deputy. Through the arrest of influential royal family members, corporate tycoons, clerics, and dissidents over the last three years, the crown prince has launched a massive crackdown on opponents and rivals.
According to multiple reports, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, King Salman’s brother, along with Mohammed bin Nayef, was detained last year.
Saudi authorities have made no official statements about their arrest, which observers believe is part of crown prince’s effort to eliminate all signs of internal opposition.
Saudi Arabia has a long record for having one of the highest number of annual executions globally. Human rights activists also chastise opaque justice structure in the monarchy. As in the latest executions, the government never provides information about the judicial processes while oppressing investigative journalists.
While Human Rights Commission (HRC), an entity backed by the government, reported earlier this year that executions had dramatically declined in 2020, no evidence has been provided and no official statistics could verify the claim.
official statistics released by state media say Saudi Arabia has carried out the death penalty against 20 individuals since the beginning of this year. Unofficial reports and investigation reject the data saying the monarchy still denies access to detainees, reports, and trial documents.
The kingdom’s desperate efforts to blunt international criticism for violating human rights has been futile as the conducts seems to have gone through no drastic improvements.
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