A Saudi national, who was on his way to the United States for college, is reportedly going to be beheaded in his home country for attending a pro-democracy rally.
Mujtaba'a Al-Sweikat was 17 years old when he was arrested at the airport in 2012 as he was set to attend Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo as a student. He wanted to study finance.
He was among the group of at least 14 people, including disabled Munir al-Adam, taken into custody for protesting against the ultra-conservative Saudi regime.
Al-Sweikat was detained at facility in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, since his arrest, according to MLive. He was sentenced to death on June 1, 2016.
Mujtaba al-Sweikat was only a student when he attended a protest. He scheduled to be executed for joining the protest pic.twitter.com/BZz72kLPzm— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) July 15, 2017
Apart from torture, lack of freedom of expression and persecution of minority groups, expat workers and women, Saudi Arabia is notorious for its beheadings. Saudi Arabia carried out at least 154 executions in 2016.
And things don't seem to be improving under the de facto leadership of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, who has set out a plan for a more progressive Saudi Arabia.
On July 10 alone, Saudi Arabia reportedly executed six people for murder and drug offenses, a number believed to be the highest in a single day since the year began.
The U.K.-based human rights group Reprieve denounced Al-Sweikat and al-Adam's impending executions in a statement:
“This is an extremely worrying move from the increasingly brutal regime in Saudi Arabia," Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, said. "To execute a disabled man and a juvenile protestor would be an appalling breach of international law and world leaders cannot stand silently by and let this happen. President Trump and Theresa May need to tell the new Saudi Crown Prince loudly and clearly that this is an unacceptable red line that should not be crossed.”
Given the friendly nature of diplomatic relations between U.S. President Donald Trump and the Saudi crown prince, the American Federation of Teachers called on the POTUS to take action against the executions.
"President Trump displayed a close relationship with Saudi leaders during his recent trip to the kingdom," AFT Michigan President David Hecker said in the statement. "I urge him to use that relationship to plead with the new Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to halt the executions."
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters