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Daily News Analysis

Canadian human rights organizations renew calls for Ottawa to end arms sales after mass executions in Saudi Arabia

Crescent International

Among those executed by the Saudi regime including Abdullah al-Zaher (in the middle) who was only 13 years old when arrested.

Leading Canadian human rights organizations have expressed deep concern at Ottawa’s deafening silence over mass executions in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that 81 men were executed by the regime.

This is the largest number of executions in a single day in the desert kingdom’s modern history.

Those executed included 73 Saudi nationals, seven Yemenis and one Syrian.

Some of the Saudis beheaded were minors when arrested.

Most of those executed (41) were from the predominantly Shia region of Qatif, including a 13-year-old minor.

It is well-known that the Saudi judicial system is deeply flawed.

There is no codified law in Saudi Arabia.

Besides, what is viewed as normal political activity elsewhere is considered capital offence in the medieval kingdom.

Calls for basic human rights are branded as treason, as is criticism of the king or the Saudi crown prince.

Canada claims to uphold human rights and is quick to criticize governments that it views as “unfriendly” but in the case of Saudi Arabia, it remains silent.

Canadian human rights defenders are also deeply troubled by Canada’s ongoing military sales to Saudi Arabia.

Canada has a $15 billion contract supplying Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to the Saudi regime.

The contract clearly stipulates that these weapons cannot be used against civilians.

The Saudi regime has also used these weapons against Yemeni civilians killing more than 377,000 since March 2015, according to UN figures.

Yet, Ottawa has turned a blind eye to Saudi deployment of LAVs in the eastern provinces of the kingdom against the Shia population as well as against Yemeni civilians.

Most of those executed in the recent spate of beheadings were from the Qatif region.

Canadian human rights defenders have called on Ottawa to immediately terminate the military contract and hold the Saudi regime to account for its atrocious human rights record.

Organizations and human rights experts that have called on the Canadian government to condemn Saudi executions include:

Canadian Council for Justice and Peace

Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR)

Friends of Sabeel North America

Just Peace Advocates

Canada Palestine Association

Canadians for Peace and Justice in Kashmir

Just Peace Committee – BC

PCCC – Palestine House

Stephen Ellis, Human Rights Lawyer

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

Regina Peace Council

Crescent International

Oakville Palestinian Rights Association

Pax Christ

Bruce R. Allen, Paralegal

Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought

Canadian BDS Coalition

PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity)

World BEYOND War

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