|The tip of the iceberg of rights violations in Saudi Arabia||
It was recently announced that a number of Iranian prisoners, after five years of incarceration in Saudi Arabia, were beheaded for alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
It was not possible to certify that these prisoners were in fact drug traffickers. The exact number of Iranians who were executed and the exact date they were decapitated is not clear, although the Saudi news network Al-Tagheer reported that the executions were carried out on April 15 on the orders of the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry.
The details of the arrests of the Iranian citizens were also not provided. The secrecy and lack of transparency that surround the Saudi system has put everything under question.
In violation of international law, Saudi Arabia did not allow the Iranian citizens to have consular access and did not permit them to have lawyers or interpreters in the court. There is also serious doubt about whether the prisoners were ever given a proper trial.
Ann Harrison, the deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, recently criticized Saudi Arabia, saying that foreign nationals face discrimination in relation to the death penalty.
“So, it came as no surprise to hear that (the) executed Iranians had not been allowed consular access and that the Saudi Arabian authorities did not allow them to (have) lawyers or interpreters in the court -- both violations of the internationally recognized right to a fair trial,” she added.
The execution of the Iranian prisoners was a savage, politically motivated act that was the product of the Wahhabi ideology. In fact, some say that in Saudi Arabia humans are sometimes treated like animals.
And the execution of the Iranian prisoners was just one example of the grave human rights violations occurring in the Saudi kingdom. Indeed, it is just the tip of the iceberg.
About six million foreigners are treated like modern-day slaves in Saudi Arabia. Christians and Jews are denied places of worship. Even Shia Muslims face discrimination, and in the past they have faced heavy persecution. Many Shia Muslims have been arrested for standing up for their rights, and some are still in prison.
In a textbook printed for the 2010-2011 academic year and obtained by the Institute for (Persian) Gulf Affairs in Washington, 10th-grade students are instructed on how to cut off the hands and feet of thieves. Many academics have questioned the wisdom of prioritizing instruction in such matters when there are so many other things the country’s students need to learn.
Some people who have visited Saudi Arabia say they have seen foreign children with missing limbs, and they have speculated that their hands and feet may have been cut off for stealing. However, the sharia (Islamic law) expressly forbids imposing such punishments on children.
Women’s basic rights are violated on a daily basis in Saudi Arabia. Women are denied access to health, legal, and other public services unless they first obtain permission from a male guardian.
It is unbelievable for most of the people in the world that women are still not allowed to drive in the kingdom. But then, Saudi Arabia’s first elementary schools for girls were only opened in 1961.
Only its vast oil reserves and the fact that the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina are located in the country have given Saudi Arabia a certain status in the Middle East and the rest of the world. Otherwise, it probably would have been recognized as the most backward country in the world and would have been censured by the entire international community.
And what the Wahhabis could not institutionalize in Saudi Arabia was successfully implemented in a short time in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, which the Saudis helped bring to power, with help from some of their allies.
The repercussions of the inhumane attitude prevalent in Saudi Arabia, which is inspired by the Wahhabi ideology, have caused trouble in many other parts of the world in the form of extremism and terrorism. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen are some of the countries that have had to deal with the brunt of the fallout from the ideas coming out of Saudi Arabia.
But there is a glimmer of hope, since time is on the side of justice, and in the very near future the aging elders of the House of Saud will have to hand over power to a younger generation of the royal family, which hopefully is somewhat more enlightened than the older generation.
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