London, Oct 14 : A new Amnesty International report has found that foreigners facing capital punishment in Saudi Arabia were "eight times more likely to be put to death" as compared to citizens of the Islamic kingdom. It said that most of the foreigners charged with crimes drawing death penalty were relatively impoverished menial labourers, predominantly from third world countries.
Members of this group cannot afford the money payments to a victim's relative that can win clemency from the Shariah system of Islamic justice, The Telegraph quoted the report as saying.
The report revealed that at least 1695 executions were carried out between 1985 and May 2008, with the number of non-nationals totaling 830, compared with 809 local citizens.
It was impossible to ascertain the nationality of the remaining 56, it added.
Amnesty International's UK Director Kate Allen said: "Poor foreign workers are literally paying with their lives when accused of capital crimes in Saudi Arabia. Frequently bamboozled by secretive and unfair trials conducted in a language they don't even understand, they go to their deaths with little assistance from their home countries and little mercy from a grossly unfair Saudi justice system. The use of capital punishment in Saudi Arabia is a disgrace. The Kingdom should introduce a moratorium immediately."
Although foreigners make up just one quarter of the oil rich state's population, Amnesty reported they made up the majority of all those sent to death row.