Joint statement June 6, 2023
Secretary Blinken: press Saudi Arabian authorities not to execute the two child defendants
Dear Secretary Blinken,
The undersigned organizations ask you to urgently intervene and press the Saudi Arabian authorities not to execute the two child defendants, Abdullah al-Derazi and Youssef al-Manasif, who are at risk of imminent execution.
The Supreme Court may have upheld the death sentences of Abdullah and Youssef and their
executions could be carried out at any time without notice. There is no transparency in Saudi Arabia’s judicial system. The Supreme Court has upheld death sentences and not informed the lawyers or relatives until after an execution has already taken place.
Both Abdullah and Youssef had their death sentences upheld by Saudi Arabia’s Court of Appeal,
according to Reprieve, despite a prior “Royal Decree” purporting to abolish the death penalty for
children. All the charges against Abdullah and Youssef concern acts that did not result in death and do not meet the “most serious crimes” threshold as required by Saudi Arabia’s obligations Article 6 of the Arab Charter.
As child defendants they are also protected by Article 37a of the CRC which prohibits capital
punishment for offences committed by those under 18. The US Government must call on the Government of Saudi Arabia to deliver on its promise to abolish capital punishment for children and ensure that Abdullah and Youssef are protected from execution.
During your trip to the country June 6-9, urge the Saudi Arabia authorities to:
- Ensure Abdullah al-Derazi and Youssef al-Manasif are not executed and that their death sentences are overturned, in line with the Royal Decree 2020, and in compliance with Saudi Arabia’s obligations under Article 6 of the Arab Charter and Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and
- In the event of a retrial, seek assurances that the Public Prosecution not seek the death penalty for child defendants, Abdullah al-Derazi and Youssef al-Manasif, and ensure that the retrial complies with fair trial requirements under Article 13 of the Arab Charter.
Human Rights Watch
ALQST for Human Rights
European Saudi Organisation On Human Rights (ESOHR)
Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)