Aerial view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image by Edward Musiak via Flickr.
Aerial view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image by Edward Musiak via Flickr.

Saudi Arabia: Call to halt execution of peaceful protestors

published 17 July 2017 updated 1 August 2017

Education International strongly urges Saudi Arabian authorities to halt the execution of student Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat and other men facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia for protest-related offences.

Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat was under-age when he allegedly took part in peaceful protests in Saudi Arabia. He had received a place to study at Western Michigan University in the United States and was arrested at the airport on his way there in 2012. He and fourteen other men were subsequently sentenced by the controversial Specialized Criminal Court. Amnesty International has accused the court to use confessions extracted through torture.

Imminent threat of execution

Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat was recently moved from detention in Dammam to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where executions by beheading customarily take place. United Nations observers have described the protests he allegedly took part in as peaceful. Mujtaba’a was held in detention in Dammam since his arrest, and was tried and sentenced to death on June 1, 2016. On May 25 of this year, Saudi Arabia’s high court confirmed his death sentence. We have reasons to believe that his execution by beheading may be imminent.

At its fourth World Congress Porto Alegre, Brasil, in 2004, Education International adopted a resolution against the death penalty. It is at the heart of EI’s stance against executions – we challenge the public authorities of jurisdictions where this cruel, inhuman, degrading and often discriminatory punishment is still being upheld. Our most recent action concerned a request to the Iranian authorities regarding the threat of execution of Iranian academic Ahmadreza Djalali.

We must try and help save Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat life. We must try and persuade the Saudi authorities to halt all executions.

You can take action by:

  • Calling on the Saudi authorities to release Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat unless he is charged with a criminal offence, in line with international law and standards, and ensuring that he is not targeted for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly;
  • Calling on them to ensure that, pending his release, he is protected from ill treatment; and
  • Urging them to ensure that Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat and the other detainees arrested in connection with their participation in peaceful protests, have regular access to a lawyer of their choice and to their family, including facilities to communicate with the outside world.

Click here to send a message to Saudi Arabian authorities.

Click here to sign the petition.