The Saudi regime has been condemned across the world after latest mass execution of its nationals.
On Tuesday, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced that it had executed 37 citizens for their alleged “adoption of extremist, terrorist ideology and forming terrorist cells to corrupt and disturb security, spread chaos and cause sectarian discord.”
At least 33 of the victims belonged to Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority, according to Human Rights Watch.
The UN human rights chief on Wednesday called Saudi Arabia's mass executions of 37 men "shocking" and "abhorrent", joining a growing chorus of condemnation by rights groups and activists.
"I strongly condemn these shocking mass executions across six cities in Saudi Arabia yesterday," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.
"It is particularly abhorrent that at least three of those killed were minors at the time of their sentencing," she added.
The UN official urged Saudi Arabia to review its counterterrorism legislation, expressly prohibit the death penalty for minors, and halt pending executions including of three men on death row - Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdulla al-Zaher - whose cases she said had been taken up by the UN rights system.
Amnesty International also said late on Tuesday the majority of those executed in six cities belonged to the Shiite minority and were convicted after "sham trials", including at least 14 people who participated in anti-government protests in the kingdom's oil-rich Eastern Province in 2011-2012.
Amnesty said the kingdom has stepped up the rate of executions in 2019, with at least 104 people put to death since the start of the year compared with 149 for the whole of 2018.
Tuesday's mass execution was "another gruesome indication of how the death penalty is being used as a political tool to crush dissent from within" the country's Shia minority, said Lynn Maalouf, the group's research director for the Middle East.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the executions heightened doubts about respect for the right to a fair trial in Saudi Arabia and could generate sectarian violence.
"Mass executions are not the mark of a 'reformist' government, but rather one marked by capricious, autocratic rule," HRW's Middle East (West Asia) director Michael Page said.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement has deplored Saudi Arabia’s latest mass execution of its nationals, saying the US is complicit in the “heinous crimes” committed by the Riyadh regime against freedom-seeking people.
In a statement released late on Wednesday, Hezbollah expressed solidarity and sympathy with the families of the 37 Saudi citizens, who were brutally beheaded for alleged terrorism-related offences.
It also “firmly condemned the heinous crime committed by the Saudi regime against dozens of innocent civilians, involved only in seeking right to liberty and freedom of speech.”
The US is as “a key partner” in the Saudi regime’s atrocities, the resistance group said, urging human rights groups to pressure their governments into exposing the Saudi role in creating terrorist groups.
“The US is responsible for protecting and sponsoring this regime and for pushing the international community to condone its heinous crimes in order to preserve its money and oil interests,” Hezbollah added.