A Saudi Arabian prisoner convicted of the attempted murder of BBC correspondent Frank Gardner and the murder of his cameraman Simon Cumbers was among the 47 prisoners executed by Saudi Arabia.
Saudi national Adel al-Dhubaiti opened fire on the BBC reporter and Mr Cumbers while the pair were filming for a report on al-Qaeda in the oil-rich kingdom.
Mr Gardner, who is now the BBC’s security correspondent, was shot six times during the 2004 ambush in Riyadh. The injuries left him partially paralysed but he has continued to broadcast.
Simon Cumbers, a 36-year-old Irish national, was killed during the attack.
After Dhubaiti was sentenced to death, Gardner said in an interview with the Telegraph in 2014 that he would never forgive the terrorists who inflicted the injuries on him and killed his colleague.
He said: “He is completely unrepentant. He has never said sorry. He is still in the mindset that he had when he attacked us. So forgiveness is not really an option.
“It’s not like this man’s parents have written to me or anyone saying, ‘Please forgive him.’ No one has apologised.”
Gardner also declined the offer to meet Dhubaiti. He said: “I don’t want to see this guy. Why would I? What am I going to get from it? The man’s soul is dead.”
Mr Gardner told the Independent he did not want to comment on the execution.
10 examples of Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses
10 examples of Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses
In October 2014, three lawyers, Dr Abdulrahman al-Subaihi, Bander al-Nogaithan and Abdulrahman al-Rumaih , were sentenced to up to eight years in prison for using Twitter to criticize the Ministry of Justice.
In March 2015, Yemen’s Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was forced into exile after a Shia-led insurgency. A Saudi Arabia-led coalition has responded with air strikes in order to reinstate Mr Hadi. It has since been accused of committing war crimes in the country.
Women who supported the Women2Drive campaign, launched in 2011 to challenge the ban on women driving vehicles, faced harassment and intimidation by the authorities. The government warned that women drivers would face arrest.
Members of the Kingdom’s Shia minority, most of whom live in the oil-rich Eastern Province, continue to face discrimination that limits their access to government services and employment. Activists have received death sentences or long prison terms for their alleged participation in protests in 2011 and 2012.
All public gatherings are prohibited under an order issued by the Interior Ministry in 2011. Those defy the ban face arrest, prosecution and imprisonment on charges such as “inciting people against the authorities”.
In March 2014, the Interior Ministry stated that authorities had deported over 370,000 foreign migrants and that 18,000 others were in detention. Thousands of workers were returned to Somalia and other states where they were at risk of human rights abuses, with large numbers also returned to Yemen, in order to open more jobs to Saudi Arabians. Many migrants reported that prior to their deportation they had been packed into overcrowded makeshift detention facilities where they received little food and water and were abused by guards.
The Saudi Arabian authorities continue to deny access to independent human rights organisations like Amnesty International, and they have been known to take punitive action, including through the courts, against activists and family members of victims who contact Amnesty.
Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison for using his liberal blog to criticise Saudi Arabia’s clerics. He has already received 50 lashes, which have reportedly left him in poor health.
Carsten Koall/Getty Images
Dawood al-Marhoon was arrested aged 17 for participating in an anti-government protest. After refusing to spy on his fellow protestors, he was tortured and forced to sign a blank document that would later contain his ‘confession’. At Dawood’s trial, the prosecution requested death by crucifixion while refusing him a lawyer.
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 aged either 16 or 17 for participating in protests during the Arab spring. His sentence includes beheading and crucifixion. The international community has spoken out against the punishment and has called on Saudi Arabia to stop. He is the nephew of a prominent government dissident.
Mr Cumber’s parents, Robert and Bronagh, from Navan in County Meath, had previously called on the Saudi Arabian authorities not to execute their son’s killer.
“Simon was a pacifist, someone who would not have wanted the death penalty and would have opposed it. We do not want this man to be executed if he is found guilty,” Mr Cumbers said in 2009.
In a statement issued to Irish broadcaster RTÉ after the Saudi court announced its decision, he said the family’s view had not changed: “I have mixed feelings about the sentencing. On the one hand, I am pleased that the murderer has had his fate decided and that the long wait is over.
“It won’t bring Simon back, but it puts an end to the waiting. On the other hand, both Bronagh and I sympathise with Dubayti’s [the sentenced man] parents, who must now suffer that tremendous loss that we feel.”Reuse content