Saudi Arabia: leading MEPs deplore second death sentence for Abdullah al-Howaiti
Statement by Maria Arena and Hannah Neumann on Abdullah al-Howaiti being sentenced to death for the second time in Saudi Arabia.
“We are dismayed by the decision of the criminal court in Tabuk to sentence Abdullah al-Howaiti to death once again. The decision contradicts not only international human rights standards which prohibit the use of the death penalty for crimes committed under the age of 18, but also the Saudi Royal Order of 2020 announcing the end of the death penalty against minors at the time of the offense.
Abdullah al-Howaiti’s death sentence comes while Saudi authorities expressed willingness to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the EU on human rights, be it at executive or legislative level.
We hope that this sentence will be overturned by the Supreme Court once again. Not ratifying the death sentence of Abdullah al-Howaiti, quashing his conviction and ordering a retrial complying with international standards without resorting to capital punishment, would send a clear signal that positive legal changes are also fully applied by Saudi courts.”
The statement was co-signed by:
Maria Arena (S&D, Belgium), Chair of the European Parliament’s subcommittee on human rights
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: 0032 2 28 45690
Hannah Neumann (The Greens/EFA, Germany), Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula
Email: email@example.com Tel: 0032 2 28 45705
Abdullah al-Howaiti was 14 years old when he was arrested in 2017 on charges of robbery and murder. In 2019, a criminal court in Tabuk sentenced him to death. Human rights organisations condemned this decision, referring inter alia to evidence that al-Howaiti was not present during the crime and pleading that his interrogators coerced a confession through torture and ill-treatment. Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court overturned al-Howaiti’s first death sentence on the basis of a false confession, however, under Saudi law an overturned conviction results in the retrial of the case.
The first ever Human Rights Dialogue between the EU and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) was held in September 2021 in Brussels. The interpaliamentary meeting with the Shura Council took place on 15 and 16 June, also in Brussels.
EP Press Service