The families of three young men arrested for their involvement in anti-government protests while under the age of 18, fear their sons are among four people reported to be facing execution Saturday, Amnesty International said.
The family of Ali al-Nimr expressed fears on social media that he, along with Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher, is among the prisoners referred to in a government-run newspaper article published Friday. The article said the scheduled executions will complete a wave of punishments for terrorism offences that saw 47 people executed on the same day in January.
“If these executions go ahead, Saudi Arabia will demonstrate its utter disdain for international law, which prohibits executions of people for crimes committed under the age of 18. Condemning these young men to death despite grave flaws in their trials and credible allegations that their ‘confessions’ were extracted under torture, would be a sickening example of the authorities’ disregard for human life,” said James Lynch, Amnesty’s Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program.
Relatively, all three young men reported that their “confessions” were obtained under torture and other ill-treatment in detention, but the court refused to order an investigation into these allegations.
In January this year, Ali al-Nimr’s uncle, Ayatollah Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, was put to death along with 46 other people on the same day, after a politically motivated and grossly unfair trial.
Indeed, the rights group opposes the death penalty at all times and in all cases without exception, but it described Saudi Arabia’s arbitrary application of death sentences as particularly shocking due to the lack of basic safeguards in trials.
In parallel, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is legally binding on Saudi Arabia, makes clear that no death sentences may be imposed for offences committed by individuals under the age of 18.
Source: Al-Ahed news