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Saudi Court Sentences Boy Who Was Arrested At Age 13 To Eight Years in Prison

Saudi Court Sentences Boy Who Was Arrested At Age 13 To Eight Years in Prison
folder_openMiddle East... access_time 12 days ago
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By Staff, Agencies

Although the young Saudi boy Murtaja Abdullah Qureiris was facing possible execution by the kingdom of democracy, he has now been sentenced to only eight years in prison.

Murtaja was arrested for alleged offences which date back to when he was just ten years old.

At the time of the possible execution, Amnesty International was calling for the Saudi authorities to rule out the use of the death penalty against a teenager arrested at the age of 13 for participating in anti-government protests.

Media outlets also revealed back then that he was facing the death penalty and published video footage showing Murtaja participating in bike protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province as a young boy in 2011.

Amnesty confirmed in 2019 that Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution sought the death penalty for Murtaja Qureiris last August for a series of offences, some of which date back to when the teenager was just ten years old.

Qureiris, now aged 19, was arrested in September 2014 and detained in a juvenile detention center in al-Dammam city. He was held in solitary confinement for a month, and subjected to beatings and intimidation during his interrogation. His interrogators promised to release him if he confessed to charges against him. In May 2017, he was moved to the Investigation Prison in al-Dammam, an adult facility, even though he was still only 16.

Throughout his detention, Qureiris was denied access to a lawyer until after his first court session in August 2018. This was held at the country’s notorious Specialized Criminal Court, an anti-terrorism court set up in 2008 and increasingly used for cases involving human rights activists and protesters. 

The alleged charges against Murtaja include participating in anti-government protests, attending the funeral of his brother Ali Qureiris who was killed in a protest in 2011, joining a “terrorist organization,” throwing Molotov cocktails at a police station, and firing at security forces.