The two photos which show the problem with how we treat Saudi Arabia and human rights

Louis Dor
Friday 25 September 2015 17:20
news

The image on the left shows Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva.

He is depicted presenting his credentials to Michael Møller, the acting director-general of the United Nations Office at Geneva in early 2014.

It has been discovered by UN Watch, an independent campaigning NGO, that Hassan Trad has been appointed the chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council.

He will now be given the power to select applicants for roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights.

The appointment was made in June but has remained unreported until this point.

The image on the right shows Ali al-Nimr.

He was 17 when he was arrested for taking part in Arab Spring-inspired protests in 2012 in the province of Qatif, Saudi Arabia.

He has been convicted of charges including belonging to a terror cell and attacking police with molotov cocktails.

The young man’s case has been the subject of fervent campaigning from rights groups including Amnesty International and Reprieve, who say he was tortured and forced to sign a false confession before being sentenced to death.

His final appeal was rejected and he is expected to suffer execution by beheading, including “crucifixion”, which involves displaying the body after death as a warning to others.

In a statement, human rights experts, including the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns, and Benyam Mezmur, the chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, said imposing the death penalty on someone who was a child at the time of offending and after allegations of torture was “incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations”.

They said:

International law, accepted as binding by Saudi Arabia, provides that capital punishment may only be imposed following trials that comply with the most stringent requirements of fair trial and due process, or could otherwise be considered an arbitrary execution.

In light of reports that the trial against Mr al-Nimr fell short of such standards, we call upon the Saudi authorities to ensure a fair retrial of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, and to immediately halt the scheduled execution.

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