Yesterday the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia executed 37 people simultaneously in different cities across the country. This marks the largest number of executions in a single day in Saudi Arabia since 2016 and confirms a negative trend in this country in stark contrast with the growing abolitionist movement worldwide.
These mass executions raise serious doubts about the respect of the right to fair trial, which is a fundamental international minimum standard of justice. The execution of people who were minor at the time of the alleged charges constitutes a further serious violation. In addition, the identity of the majority of the executed and doubts on the gravity of the charges for some of them has the potential to fuel sectarian tensions which are already dominating the region.
The European Union is unequivocally opposed to the use of capital punishment in all cases and without exception. It is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity. In the countries which still execute people, the European Union will continue to consistently reiterate its principled position against the death penalty and advocate for its abolition.