Saudi teen faces death sentence for supposed crimes as a minor

While executions in Saudi Arabia are fairly common, it is rare to sentence someone with the death sentence who committed an act while a child.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
June 10, 2019 06:44
1 minute read.
Hangman’s noose

Old rope with hangman’s noose (illustrative).. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

A Saudi teenager faces a possible death sentence for alleged crimes he committed as a minor, the New York Times reported.

Murtaja Qureiris , now 18, was accused of committing some act as young as the age of ten. Held with out charges for four years, Qureiris was arrested at the age of 13. He is being charged for anti government protests, possessing a firearm, and joining a terrorist organization, according to the report.

While executions in Saudi Arabia are fairly common, it is rare to sentence someone with the death sentence who committed an act while a child.

“There should be no doubt that the Saudi Arabian authorities are ready to go to any length to crack down on dissent against their own citizens, including by resorting to the death penalty for men who were merely boys at the time of their arrest,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director.

CNN published a video of Qureiris leading a group of children in a bike protest when he was ten, at the height of the Arab Spring.

Qureiris's first court session will be in August 2018, according to the Times. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, three other young men, Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdulla al-Zaher, also minors at the time of their supposed crimes, have already been sentenced to death and are currently awaiting their execution.

“The Saudi Arabian authorities have a chilling track record of using the death penalty as a weapon to crush political dissent and punish antigovernment protesters — including children — from the country’s persecuted Shia minority,” Maalouf said, according to the Times.

Already in the first five months of 2019, Saudi Arabia has executed 110 people, according to an Amnesty International report.

The Saudi Embassy did yet respond to the case. In 2017, Saudi Arabia defended their use of the death penalty to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, by saying, the death penalty “can only be imposed for the most serious offenses and subject to the strictest controls” after due process, the Times reported.


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