- Amnesty International has condemned Saudi Arabia for the recent execution of a group of Iranian nationals, warning that a large number of people are being executed in the kingdom after 'grossly unfair' trials.
On April 18, Press TV reported that Saudi officials had executed eight Iranian sailors in the eastern city of Dammam without any legal proceedings.
According to the Saudi Al-Tagheer news channel, the executions were carried out on April 15 on the order of the Saudi Interior Ministry, which has been implicated in the unrest in Syria and the violence in Iraq as well.
Ann Harrison, the deputy director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme, stated recently that foreign nationals in Saudi Arabia face discrimination in relation to the death penalty, and executions are on the rise.
"So, it came as no surprise to hear that executed Iranians had not been allowed consular access and that the Saudi Arabian authorities did not allow them to lawyers or interpreters in the court - both violations of the internationally recognized right to a fair trial," she pointed out.
- Harrison further highlighted that Amnesty has long campaigned for the reform of the judicial sector in Saudi Arabia, where there is no Penal Code and judges have almost carte blanche to try any case they see fit - with resultant high levels of executions and cruel or torturous punishments such as flogging and amputations.
Meanwhile, the head of Iran's Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, has stated that Tehran will take action on the execution of Iranians in Saudi Arabia via international channels.
He said Iran reserves the right to take legal action against Saudi Arabia.
The senior Iranian lawmaker highlighted that under Article 36 of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations(VCCR), local authorities must inform all detained foreigners "without delay" of their right to have their consulate notified of their detention and to communicate with their consular representatives.
Saudi officials, nevertheless, executed the Iranian inmates without informing Tehran and in clear violation of international rules and regulations, Boroujerdi pointed out.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry also said it plans to send a delegation to Saudi Arabia over the issue.
On May 30, the Persian-language Tabnak news website reported that Saudi officials in Dammam executed 10 more Iranian citizens.
The website added that a total of 25 Iranians were kept at Dammam prison and 18 of them were executed in two stages.
The prisoners were Iranian sailors who were arrested on a fishing boat in international waters 70 miles off the coast of Saudi Arabia six years ago on charges of 'drug possession.'
The serial executions came despite an April 18 telephone conversation between Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his Saudi counterpart, Saud al-Faisal, during which they discussed the issue and stressed the importance of exercising prudence.