[The following report was issued by Alkarama o 24 September 2013]
Mabrook Al Sai`ari, a 43-year-old Saudi national detained at Najran prison, could be executed in two months. Or not. His fate depends on a family living at the border with Yemen who will use this decisive `term` to decide whether or not to forgive him for the murder of their beloved one. No one`s fate should depend on such an arbitrary decision by the Saudi judiciary which has sentenced him twice for the same crime committed some 13 years ago.
Imprisoned, Released, and Rearrested
13 years ago, Mabrook Al Sai`ari lived with his wife and children in the southern Saudi town of Al Waidah, in Najran Province which borders Yemen. In 2000, he was accused by the Saudi authorities of murdering a Yemeni citizen on Yemeni soil and he was sentenced in Saudi Arabia to 4 years and 6 months in prison and to 3500 lashes. Both the prison sentence and the lashes were carried out. He was then released in 2004.
Nine months later, when the family of the person Mr Al Sai`ari was accused of killing found out that he was released, they requested the Saudi authorities re-arrest him and again sentence him. Mabrook was summoned by the local judicial authorities in Najran. As soon as he arrived at Najran police station, he was again arrested and sent to Najran prison.
Sentenced a Second Time for the Same Crime
In early 2012, after 7 years of detention without any judicial basis, Mr Al Sai`ari was sentenced to death by the criminal court in Najran. Despite the severity of the penalty, he did not have access to a lawyer because of his modest financial means and did not obtain any court-appointed legal counsel. Moreover, he could not appeal the judgement.
His trial has been marred with irregularities including breaches of procedure and violation of his fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He did not have access to a lawyer, could not appeal his sentence and has been tried and sentenced twice for the same crime.
On Death Row for Two Months?
The death sentence was to be implemented on 8 September 2013 but the intervention of several tribal leaders succeeded in postponing the execution by 70 days. This time is intended to give the family of the person Mr Al Sai`ari is accused of murdering the time to decide if they renounce the execution of the sentence or not. According to Saudi legislation, the family of the victim can `forgive` the murderer and allow him to escape the death penalty.
Today, Alkarama requested the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions to urgently intervene with the Saudi authorities not to carry out this death sentence which was handed down after an unfair trial. If his execution were to go ahead, this would result in a violation of the most fundamental right, the right to life, contrary to Saudi Arabia`s obligations under article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.