One of the 37 men executed in Saudi Arabia last week reportedly admitted to having gay sex but argued in court that his confession was fabricated.
Saudi Arabia executed 37 citizens for alleged terrorism-related crimes, in what was reportedly the country’s largest mass execution since 2016.
It has now emerged that one of the men allegedly admitted to having sex with four of the other co-accused, a charge that he denied in court, according to court documents obtained by CNN.
Homosexuality is punishable by death in the country, which is ruled by King Salman (pictureD) and adheres to strict Sharia law, but it is not known how many gay people are executed each year.
In the documents obtained by CNN, the unnamed Shi’a man allegedly confessed to “homosexual relationships” and hatred for the majority Sunni sect, but he denied all the charges against him and his lawyer claimed the confession had been fabricated.
The executions were carried out last Tuesday in the cities of Riyadh, Mecca and Medina, and one of the prisoners had his body and severed head pinned to a pole in a public square.
Other men also claimed during their trials that their confessions had been fabricated and had been obtained through torture, according to CNN’s report.
Hussein Mohammed al-Musallam told the court that “nothing in these confessions is correct” but he could not prove he was coerced through torture. He asked the court to retrieve medical reports from the prison hospital as evidence.
One of the men was just 16 years old at the time he was arrested for attending a protest in 2012, but the man’s father claimed during the trial his son had been tortured and forced to sign a confession that had been dictated by an interrogator.
A Saudi Arabian official told CNN the Kingdom “has long ago adopted a zero tolerance policy towards terrorists who spill the blood of the innocent, threaten the national security of the kingdom and distort our great faith.
“The convicted criminals who were executed today had their day in court and were found guilty of very serious crimes.”
But Amnesty International said the majority of those executed were Shi’a men who were convicted “after sham trials that violated international fair trial standards which relied on confessions extracted through torture.”
“[The trials are] yet another gruesome indication of how the death penalty is being used as a political tool to crush dissent from within the country’s Shi’a minority,” Amnesty’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf said.
“The use of the death penalty is always appalling but it is even more shocking when it is applied after unfair trials or against people who were under 18 at the time of the crime, in flagrant violation of international law.”
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