Three moderate scholars will reportedly be executed in Saudi Arabia after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Iran Press/Middle East: Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch, Adam Coogle said he could not confirm the report, but told the Independent: “What I can say is that Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against these men merely for their alleged peaceful political affiliations and opinions." 

He added: “We see this as a clear departure from past practice and an indication of just how much the repression level has increased since MBS [Mohammed bin Salman] became crown prince nearly two years ago.”

Saudi authorities have not commented on the report but claimed that the three men – Sheikh Salman al-Ouda, Awad al-Qarni, and Ali al-Omari - are being held on multiple charges of terrorism.

Dana Ahmed, Amnesty International’s Persian Gulf researcher, told the Independent: "The Saudi Public Prosecution’s recurring calls for the death penalty in the case of a number of individuals being held for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression - including Sheikh Salman al-Ouda - raises real alarms for the fate of detained activists and religious clerics in the country.

"We’re calling on the Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately release those detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly, and to drop any charges against them."

Another Saudi government source told Middle East Eye the execution of 37 Saudis for terrorism offenses in April was used as a 'trial balloon' to gauge the strength of international condemnation.

Responding to the April executions, Human Rights Watch described the punishment as 'grotesque' while Amnesty International called it 'a chilling demonstration of the Saudi Arabian’ authorities callous disregard for human life. 104/208

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