Saudi Crackdown: Five Teenage Activists on Death Row, Rights Group Warns
By Staff, Agencies
In the ongoing course of the heavy-handed crackdown against its nationals, the Saudi regime is planning to execute five teenage activists.
A Europe-based organization seeking to promote human rights in Saudi Arabia reported that the Riyadh regime is planning to execute five Shia teenagers who were arrested on charges of participating in demonstrations in 2011.
According to the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights [ESOHR], the Riyadh regime had arrested the youths during anti-government unrest in the country’s Shia-populated Qatif region in Eastern Province in 2011, Lebanese Al-Mayadeen reported on Tuesday, with the youngest of the group being nine years old at the time of apprehension.
The five individuals were named by the ESOHR as Ahmad Abdel al-Wahid al-Faraj, Ali Mohammad al-Biti, Mohammad Hussain al-Nimr, Ali Hassan al-Faraj, and Mohammad Essam al-Faraj.
The organization noted that the Saudi public prosecutor had called for the “harshest punishment” against the teenagers.
The young men have been in prison awaiting trial for over two years, with some of them having been held in solitary confinement. Others have been denied legal representation and subjected to torture.
Saudi Arabia has stepped up politically-motivated arrests and the prosecution of peaceful protesters in the country.
The Qatif eastern province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.
Protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime.
Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target political activism.
In January 2016, the Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was an outspoken critic of the Riyadh regime. Martyr Sheikh Nimr had been arrested in Qatif in 2012.