The retired steelworker works full time to abolish the death penalty.

Foreign nationals are at particular risk of execution for capital crimes. The first factor driving the situation is that foreign nationals are not familiar with Saudi judicial processes, and the government may make little or no effort to inform them or provide them with interpreters when necessary so that they can understand proceedings and the charges against them. This dynamic is exacerbated in cases involving a private criminal action for diyat (blood money) or qisas (the religiously stipulated retributive death penalty) against an individual who has caused the death of kin. Foreign workers are likely to be poor and thus face qisas (unless their governments or some organization can fund a pardon, or the family grants a free pardon); additionally, Arab groups that intercede for offenders by bringing influential personages to bear on issues may be less likely to intercede for non-Saudis. Foreign workers are more than 7 times as likely to be executed as Saudis are. Individuals from Europe and North America are very unlikely to be executed compared to individuals from other areas of the world. It is possible that, to some extent, domestic workers are not fully aware of the proper approach to the sulah process (substitution of diya for qisas).

Human Rights Watch has published a report on the Ismailis in southern Saudi Arabia, reporting on one incident in which a number of Ismailis were sentenced to death and a practice of religious discrimination against Ismailis that can result in application of the death penalty. While the King has generally been fairly involved in pardoning Ismailis sentenced to death, on occasion he seems unable to because the sentence of death has been pronounced as hadd.

The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation. .

Retentionist. The last execution took place in 2015. However, categorizing the U.S. as homogenously retentionist does not accurately reflect the political structure of the nation. Within the limits defined by the Constitution, each State applies its own criminal law, and the federal government is constitutionally barred from requiring the services of the States in applying the federal criminal law.

Nineteen (out of 50) states have abolished the death penalty. Although 31 states still retain the death penalty, only 7 of them actually carried out executions in 2014. Twenty-six states have carried out executions during the last ten years; the remaining 7 states, the U.S. Federal Government, and the U.S. Military are de facto abolitionist by U.N. standards. New Mexico, Connecticut, Maryland and Nebraska abolished the death penalty in 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2015, respectively.

The federal death penalty was not used from 1964 to 2000, but has been used once since 2003. No executions have occurred in the military justice system since 1961, and the District of Columbia has no death penalty.

(This question was last updated on August 9, 2015.)


His startling series of photographs of inmates on Texas Death Row are featured in an exhibit that opened in October 2008 at the Norwegian Opera house in Oslo, sponsored by Amnesty International.

Advocate to end use of the death penalty

Consensual Sexual Relations Between Adults of Same Sex.
Judges reportedly treat gay and lesbian sexual relations as zina, applying the penalty of death or lashing according to the circumstances. The schools of Sunni Islam take different positions on the treatment of homosexual and lesbian acts. The Hanbali school treated male sodomy as carrying the penalty of death as hadd, regardless of the marital status of the offender, while lesbianism was punished (under all schools) as a ta’zir offense. In this regard, Saudi jurisprudence is heterodox in that it treats lesbianism as punishable as hadd. The evidentiary requirements for inflicting a hadd penalty are demanding—for further explanation, see our comments.

The Facts: 13 Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty

In Saudi Arabia, individuals can be and have been sentenced to death and executed for apostasy. Although there is no contemporary consensus on the treatment of apostasy, it is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. The death penalty for apostasy may be ta’zir, as the Hanbali school does not consider apostasy to carry a hadd punishment, while still allowing for the death penalty. Traditionally, apostates are afforded a period of time to turn back to Islam, but the death penalty still applies under this rule (in jurisdictions that provide for it)—an individual who persists in his opinion will be executed, thus, there is ultimately no freedom to publically adhere to a divergent opinion without being executed.

Death Penalty | Equal Justice Initiative

Zina carries the death penalty as hadd for married persons (and lashing for unmarried persons), under demanding evidentiary showings. For a fuller explanation, see our comments.

Methods of Execution - Death Penalty Worldwide

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
By Fatwa issued on August 30, 1988, acts of terrorism (as “corruption on earth”) carry the mandatory death penalty; the ambit of this Fatwa is unclear.