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Parliamentary questions
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18 May 2016
Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini
Question reference: E-002257/2016

The HR/VP shares the concerns of the Honourable MEPs about the worrying trend related to the use of the death penalty globally, and in particular in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The EEAS, both in Brussels and locally, via the EU Delegation in Riyadh, continue to closely monitor the cases of Ali al-Nimr, Hasan al-Zaher and Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon.

The EU is consistently engaged with the Saudi authorities building on the recommendations made during its UN Universal Periodic review in 2013, notably as regards restricting the scope of implementation of the Death Penalty and ensuring standards of fair and transparent trial. The EEAS itself has been engaging the Saudi authorities, in close coordination with EU Member States, to urgently convey the EU's preoccupation regarding a number of individual cases, highlighting in particular the situation of minors sentenced to capital punishment. On 2 January 2016, the HR/VP issued a public statement(1) on executions in Saudi Arabia, recalling the EU's principled opposition to the death penalty, while also voicing specific concern on the execution of Ali Al-Nimr in light of civil and political rights and fair judicial standards.

The EU will continue to call on the Saudi Government to act proportionately in all such cases to protect the universal rights of freedom of expression and assembly, while also reminding of the obligations ensuing from international convensions, to which Saudi Arabia is a party. The EU will also continue to advocate for the reconsideration of the death penalty, particularly in case where citizens were accused or convicted as a result of the peaceful expression of their opinion, through all appropriate diplomatic channels.

(1) http://eeas.europa.eu/statements-eeas/2016/160102_01_en.htm

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