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5 Years After Detention, Saudi Arabia Executes 21-Year-Old Over ‘Anti-Govt’ Texts

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this week executed 37 people on terrorism charges. Among them was 21-year-old Abdulkarim al-Hawaj who was detained when he was a schoolboy over ‘anti-government’ text messages shared via WhatsApp.

Abdulkarim was beaten and tortured with electricity while his hands were chained above his head when he “confessed” to his crimes, human rights charity Reprieve claimed. Amnesty International called his case ‘a farce’ since he was not allowed a defence lawyer and was made to ‘forcefully’ confess the crime.

Repreive also claimed that apart from being tortured, Abdulkarim was threatened that his family would be killed if he did not confess to the crimes.

Another individual executed was Mujtaba al-Sweikat, who was arrested from the airport when he was about to leave for Michigan to start his university life. He was 18-year-old at the time of his arrest and was detained for attending an anti-government demonstration.

Human rights organizations claim that he too was forced to confess to the ‘crimes’. Despite his university protesting his sentence, insisting he had ‘great promise’, Mujtaba was also beheaded this week.

Earlier this month, a Pakistani couple was executed in Saudi Arabia over ‘heroin smuggling’. The couple was found guilty by a Saudi court for drug trafficking in the country.

The country’s ministry, in a press release, stated that Muhammad Mustafa and Fatima Ijaz were “arrested when they smuggled a quantity of heroin”. The ministry said that the punishments were approved by the respective court and also the Supreme Court.

A royal order to implement the death sentences were issued, and the duo were executed in Jeddah.

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Naya Daur