Outcry over execution of Saudi minor

June 17, 2021 - 15:38

TEHRAN-- The execution by Saudi Arabian authorities of a Shia dissident has drawn widespread condemnation from rights groups.

They say Mustafa Hashim al-Darwish was a minor when he was arrested and charged for taking part in protests against the ruling monarchy. 

According to a statement by the Saudi interior ministry, Mustafa was executed in the city of Dammam in the Eastern province on Tuesday for what it described as “riot” gatherings, among other offenses. Mustafa was 26 at the time of his execution, but right groups say he was charged for alleged crimes committed when he was 17. One rights group, Amnesty International, says his trial was “deeply flawed” and that he had been detained for six years and placed in solitary confinement, tortured, and denied access to a lawyer for large parts of his incarceration. In a statement, Human Rights Group REPRIEVE said, “The execution of Mustafa al-Darwish once again shows that the Kingdom’s claim to have eliminated capital punishment for childhood crimes is not true.”

At the height of the Islamic Awakening uprisings, also known as the Arab Spring in the early 2010s, the Saudi Kingdom was one of many in the region to experience large-scale demonstrations. Many from the minority Shia sect demonstrated in the Eastern Province’s poverty-stricken streets of the Qatif region. They demanded higher employment rates, better human rights, and an end to discrimination by the ruling Saudi family. Since then, scores of Shia dissidents have been executed, including the high-profile case of a prominent cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, that sent shockwaves across the Islamic world.

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