Abdulkarim al-Hawaj was treated with electric current, beheaded and body put on display. Why? Because he was labelled a ‘terrorist’ for sending a WhatsApp message about a protest against Saudi savagery when he was only 16 years old.
Abdulkarim belonged to the Kingdom’s Shia minority, which is concentrated in the troubled Eastern province. Saudi savagery against its minority sect is an evident fact, which can be further verified by the fact that among the 37 people beheaded in the chilling mass execution, the majority were Shia.
Abdulkarim’s WhatsApp message included inviting people for an anti-government demonstration, that qualified for him being labelled as a ‘terrorist’. He was beaten, his body tortured, hands chained behind his head and electricity shocks crawling through his body when he ‘confessed’ to his crimes. The sources also reported that the authorities also threatened to kill his family if he doesn’t accept his crimes.
Human Rights Organizations, including the Amnesty International, tried to do all they could to save him but failed. They describe it as the ‘day they feared’. Abdulkarim’s case particularly got a lot of international attention because sentencing a person to death who is aged under 18 is banned under international law. The teenagers on the death row were brutally tortured and denied access to legal help.
However, Saudi savagery and use of execution tool against its Shia minority sees no bounds. The executed also included bright and brilliant 17 years old Mujtaba al-Sweikat. Mujtaba was all set to start a new life in the US, studying at Western Michigan University start his academic career in the US at the prestigious Western Michigan University, when he was arrested during a protest.
Even his university protested against his sentence and said that he had a ‘great future ahead’ due to his capable academic records, but he was also beheaded last week.
Reprieve Deputy Director Harriet McCulloch insists both men were only sharing information about peaceful demonstrations and were subjected to ‘sham’ trial.
”Many things can be used to justify a death sentence in Mohammed Bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia, including ‘disobedience against the King’, ‘preparing banners with anti-state slogans’ and ‘incitement via social media. Mujtaba al-Sweikat and Abdulkarim al-Hawaj were teenagers sharing information about peaceful protests on their mobile phones.” – she said.
She added that it is now time for Kingdom’s Western allies to intervene and put an end to Saudi brutality and prevent any more young promising men from losing their lives.
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