Former Death Row Prisoner Released From Saudi Prison

Former Death Row Prisoner Released From Saudi Prison

( – In 2005, the US Supreme Court ruled the death penalty for minors was cruel and unusual punishment and abolished the practice. However, the possibility remained in Saudi Arabia until April 2020, when King Salman seemed to eliminate it as an option for children. On October 27, authorities released Shiite Muslim Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was on death row for protesting about 10 years ago when he was just 17 years old.

Although the country gave the illusion of halting death penalties for kids under 18 at the behest of the King, the country’s Human Rights Commission discovered the kingdom didn’t publish the edict. In fact, Saudi Arabia executed Mustafa al-Darwish in June for the alleged protest-related crimes he committed as a juvenile.

His death sparked outrage from multiple United Nations human rights officials who wrote to Saudi Arabian leaders to communicate their objections. Clearly, the practice of putting minors to death for crimes in Saudi Arabia is still a possibility. Until they officially eliminate capital punishment, the country remains one of three in the world that still carries out this action.

In February, the commission announced the expected release of two more Shi’ite minors facing the death penalty. Nimr’s freedom may be a sign more commutations are on the horizon.

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