Saudi executes Jordanian man despite forced confession claim


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

It was gathered that the 57-year-old Hussein Abu al-Khair 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.

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.

“We urge the Saudi government to halt al-Kheir’s reported imminent execution and to comply with the Working Group’s opinion by quashing his death sentence, releasing him immediately and unconditionally, and by ensuring that he receives medical care, compensation and other reparations,” said spokesperson Liz Throssell.

The announcement that Hussein Abu al-Khair had been put to death was made on the Saudi press agency.

Responding to news of the execution, Conservative MP David Davis said:

“The UK government knew Hussein Abu al-Khair was at imminent risk, but the foreign secretary failed to publicly call for his execution to be halted, despite his predecessors taking this kind of action in the past.

“The UK must signal it will no longer turn a blind eye to executions like these, and speak out strongly on behalf of others who remain at risk, including child defendants like Abdullah al-Howaiti.”

The Saudi Press Agency said the Ministry of the Interior was announcing that the death penalty had been implemented against Hussein Abu al-Khair to “confirm the keenness of the Kingdom’s government to combat drugs of all kinds because of the severe harm they cause to the individual and society”.