Jun 17, 2021
USCIRF Condemns Saudi Arabia’s Latest Execution of Shi’a Man
Washington, D.C. – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today condemned the Saudi government for executing Mustafa Darwish, a 26-year old Shi’a Muslim man arrested in 2015 on charges of “participation in armed rebellion against the rulers.”
As USCIRF recently reported, Shi’a Muslims in Saudi Arabia continue to face discrimination in education, employment, and the judiciary, and they lack access to senior positions in the government and military. Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission announced the government would commute capital sentences against minors in February 2021, but the policy has not been published in the official gazette. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia continues to systematically deny freedom of religion and belief to Shi’a and other religious minorities in the kingdom.
In its 2021 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the State Department designate Saudi Arabia as a “country of particular concern” for engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). While the State Department made this designation on December 2, 2020, it issued a waiver exempting Saudi Arabia from sanctions to which it would otherwise be subject under the IRFA.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at media@USCIRF.gov.