Saudi Arabia executes Jordanian man after allegedly giving forced confession

Saudi Arabia has executed a Jordanian man whose family say he was tortured into confessing to drugs charges.

Hussein Abu al-Khair, 57, had eight children and was a driver for a wealthy Saudi.

He was arrested in 2014 while crossing the border from Jordan into Saudi Arabia, accused of smuggling amphetamines.

He was later sentenced to death, after a trial criticised by Amnesty International as “grossly unfair”.

His sister, Zeinab Abul Al-Khair, said he had told her from jail that he had been strung up by his feet and beaten.

“He never imagined a forced confession would be allowed in his trial,” she told me earlier this year.

His case has drawn international concern, with fears for his fate growing after Saudi Arabia last November ended an unofficial moratorium on the use of the death penalty for drugs offences. Within a fortnight, 17 men were executed on such charges.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had found that Mr Abu al-Khair’s detention lacked legal basis.

And in late 2022, the UN Human Rights office appealed for his release.

It says the use of the death penalty for drug offences is incompatible with international norms and standards.



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