Saudi Arabia executes two military personnel for treason, state news agency reports


RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s defence ministry has executed two military personnel who were accused of committing treason among other offences, the state news agency (SPA) said on Thursday.

The two officers, a pilot and a sergeant major, were arrested in 2017 and sentenced to death on charges of treason and not protecting the national interest and military honour, SPA said, citing a statement from the ministry. They were referred to the designated court, provided with all the judicial guarantees and they confessed to what they were charged with, SPA added.

The statement did not give details about the offences but the Saudi military was heavily engaged in Yemen in 2017, where the kingdom formed a coalition and had been fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group since 2015.

The fighting has largely ceased but Riyadh has struggled to extricate itself from the conflict which killed tens of thousands and left millions of Yemenis facing starvation and disease.

The kingdom also executed three soldiers in 2021 who were sentenced for “high treason” and “cooperating with the enemy”.Saudi Arabia has come under increasing global scrutiny over its human rights record. Rights groups, including Amnesty International, have called on Riyadh to stop the use of the death penalty, citing allegations of torture and unfair trials.

Amnesty said last week the kingdom had executed 100 people this year and 196 people in 2022, the highest number recorded over the last 30