On Tuesday, authorities in Saudi Arabia executed a man, 26, for crimes committed while he was a minor. The man named Mustafa Al-Darwish was found guilty of charges, including meeting with others involved in the riots in 2011 and 2012. Al-Darwish was executed in Dammam, says the Saudi Interior Ministry.
He was charged with allegations of “participation in armed rebellion,” “sowing discord,” and plotting to kill security forces. According to the rights group, Al-Darwish had committed crimes when he was only 17 and had called for his execution.
#Saudi Arabia executes Mustafa al-Darwish for participating in protests when he was 17. His family weren’t informed – they found out that their son was executed by reading the news online.. https://t.co/vVYl2r3xdR
— Maryam Alkhawaja (@MARYAMALKHAWAJA) June 15, 2021
Saudi authorities had arrested him in 2015 added that Al-Darwish was charged with forming a terror cell and trying to carry out an armed revolt.
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Shreds of evidence against him included a picture “offensive to the security forces” and his participation in the over 10 riots gathering in 2011 and 2012. According to Reuters, the court documents did not mention the dates of his offenses.
Whereas Amnesty International and Reprieve, an anti-death penalty charity, say that the man had recanted his confession, allegedly made after he was tortured. His family says, they were not informed about his execution, they learned it online.
“How can they execute a boy because of a photograph on his phone?,” his family said in a statement, published by Reprieve. “Since his arrest, we have known nothing but pain. It is a living death for the whole family.”
In 2019, Saudi Arabia executed 37 citizens, of which 34 were identified as Shia. And they keep going. Mustafa was executed yesterday for participating in a 'riot' (ie a protest) when he was a minor https://t.co/IgBkJnf5aH
— fatima bhutto (@fbhutto) June 16, 2021
“Six years ago, Mustafa was arrested with two of his friends,” a statement issued by al-Darwish’s family on Tuesday said. “The police released him without charge but confiscated his phone. We later found out that there was a photograph on the phone that offended them. Later they called us and told Mustafa to come and collect his phone, but instead of giving it back they detained him … How can they execute a boy because of a photograph on his phone?”
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International humanitarian organizations say his execution goes against the claims of Saudi authorities to abolish death penalties on crimes committed while they were minors and will apply the maximum sentence of 10 years. The royal decree had said that the new law would apply retroactively to those cases waiting for execution.
His execution has stirred an international outcry with activists and humanitarian organizations calling out the Saudi authorities for taking an extreme step against the crime committed during their teenage years. The humanitarian organizations deny the claims of Saudi authorities who claimed that he was arrested when he was 19.