Michigan Faculty And Lawmakers Urge Reprieve Of Student In "Imminent" Saudi Execution

Amnesty International is warning that 14 young men are facing "imminent execution" for protest-related crimes in Saudi Arabia, including Mujtaba al-Sweikat, who was arrested in 2012 at the age of 17 while boarding a plane to attend an American university, as a well as a partially blind and deaf man who was reportedly tortured into giving a false confession. The men have already been moved to Riyadh, the site the Islamic kingdom's Deera Square (commonly called "Chop Chop Square").

Saudi Arabia typically gives no notice regarding precisely when executions are carried out - typically in the form beheading - though they are open to the public. The king's signature is all that's required before execution of the 14 men takes place after what Amnesty described as a "grossly unfair mass trial". July has been a particularly bloody month with over 26 executions in a 3 week period. International monitoring groups have estimated that over 60 executions have been carried out so far in 2017. In 2015 the kingdom reached a two decade high with over 157, and the following year executed 47 on a single day, including a prominent Shia cleric for leading anti-government protests.

Saudi executions by the numbers. Source: Statista

Various rights groups, as well as Michigan state lawmakers and teachers organizations, appealed to the White House to intervene, especially considering that one of the youngest facing execution, al-Sweikat, had been accepted as a student at Western Michigan University (WMU). Sweikat was arrested, along with other juveniles, for taking part in pro-Shia protests - all 14 are of part of Saudi Arabia's Shia minority. Since 2011 sporadic violence has erupted in the country's Shia-dominated eastern province of Qatif, resulting in increased nation-wide crackdowns on Shia political activity. A number of public beheadings since then have been for charges of spying on behalf of Iran. At least 34 members of Saudi Arabia's Shia community currently await the death penalty according to Amnesty International's figures.

Mujtaba al-Sweikat, arrested at 17, was set to attend WMU. Family photo, source: Reprieve.

Last week over 100 WMU faculty and administrators issued a public letter to President Trump requesting an urgent last minute intervention in al-Sweikat's case. The joint statement cited a UN finding:

We are shocked and alarmed to learn that one of our prospective students, Mujtaba al-Sweikat, faces imminent execution in Saudi Arabia... According to information provided to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, al-Sweikat was subjected to sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, cigarette burns, beaten to the point that his shoulder was broken and denied medical care.

Both Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson have remained silent on the issue, though it's not known what, if anything, has been conveyed through diplomatic channels. "America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens," Trump stated during his May visit to the Saudi capital. "We are not here to lecture, we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership, based on shared interests and values--to pursue a better future for us all."

Saudi-US arms purchases. Source: Statista

British Prime Minister Theresa May has faced similar calls to put pressure on Saudi Arabia over its horrific human rights abuses. Both the US and UK have recently signed record breaking weapons deals with their longtime gulf ally and rarely speak publicly on issues related to Saudi domestic affairs. In January of this year, the human rights monitoring group Reprieve pointed to a trend of increasingly young prisoners facing the death penalty:

There are now real concerns that those protesters sentenced to death as children could be next in line to face the swordsman’s blade. Saudi Arabia's allies - including the US and UK - must not turn a blind eye to such atrocities and must urgently appeal to the Kingdom to change course.

Saudi Arabia routinely blows off the criticisms of private human rights groups and likely sees no need for reform, especially since it faces little serious pressure from Western governments. In April it was elected to the UN Women's Rights Commission to serve for the 2018-2022 term after keeping its seat on the Human Rights Council in a November re-election. This latest round of public beheadings, set to take place at any moment, demonstrates the continued absurdity and inconsistency of Washington's human rights rhetoric and the so-called 'international order'.


GUS100CORRINA svayambhu108 Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:48 Permalink

Michigan Faculty And Lawmakers Urge Reprieve Of Student In "Imminent" Saudi ExecutionMy response: This kind of stuff goes on all of the time in Muslim countries under Sharia. If you are an American and this gives you heart burn then I say GOOD. It should be very distressing to say the least. But remember, Americans are NOT IN CONTROL. We need to also remember that Saudi Arabia is a sovereign nation under a completely different set of rules.I really hope from the bottom of my heart that the APOSTATE CHURCHES in AMERICA and AMERICANS in general understand why SHARIA is a really, really BAD IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ISLAM is a CULT from the PIT of HELL.My message to CHRISTIAN PASTORS AT CHURCHES who are inviting IMAMS into your CHRUCHES: STOP IT RIGHT NOW or you will GO TO HELL!!!!!!

In reply to by svayambhu108

Gold...Bitches 847328_3527 Thu, 07/27/2017 - 20:32 Permalink

"Mujtaba al-Sweikat, who was arrested in 2012 at the age of 17 while boarding a plane to attend an American university." Maybe his spot at the school will go a US citizen now.  Of course, the reality is that they will likely pick another muslim from another hell hole to show how awesome they are with yet more virtue signalling while an american citizen gets turned down for that spot at the school.

In reply to by 847328_3527

Post-Truth Society svayambhu108 Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:41 Permalink

Trump IS a Wahabi towelhead.  Why do you think his first trip was to the kingdom of Saud, and then Israel?  He has openly praised Sharia law at a UAE conference in 2012.  (He likes their divorce laws apparently.)It's time to face the truth. TRUMP IS A MUSLIM and the Anti-Christ.  Wake up before it's too late.  Kushner and Ivanka are rallying the Jews while Trump is selling huge arms deals to Saudis.  Prepare now. 

In reply to by svayambhu108

giorgioorwell Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:28 Permalink

Saudi Arabia continues to be the largest elephant in the room that makes any claim that the US's foreign policy has anything to do with spreading American values seem like the worst kind of joke.  Seriously, until that is corrected, we continue to be the world's biggest hypocrites.

Txpl9421 Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:31 Permalink

They are upset because they didn't know him.   Six months later than the whole lot of the folks at WMU would have been too busy on their vacation to care.At least that was the way it was with arabs at my college.They could be getting gang raped by a group of wildabeasts on the town common and no one...not one person..could muster up half a shit to give.

Moe Hamhead barysenter Thu, 07/27/2017 - 20:49 Permalink

What's more humane?  The electric chair?, the firing squad?, or how about drugs, ..for "the big sleep"?  The French liked the guillotine, the Saudis like the theater of using the sword, maybe it reduces crime.  Anyway, like the saying goes:  heads are gonna roll!  They're sure saving a lot of money on prisons.  Spending it on mosques I guess.

In reply to by barysenter

Golden Showers Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:38 Permalink

Meanwhile, in the United States, armed Leftest Militants want to "imminantly" execute Americans.Yeah, you know, going to the land of Saudi Arabia for opportunity and freedom wasn't the best choice after all... Not unless you are Huma Mahmood Abadin and you got a job in the States.Like we all know what the papers in Ukraine advertise for. To help those upscale nanny work in Germany? That is one thing. But you end up sold into a whore house in Israel. That is what you get."Say, honey... we bought our son a soccer ball and a jersey. He belongs in a land of opportunity. How about Saudi Arabia?" "Gee! What a swell idea! I'm so glad I married you.""Don't worry, son! You can do your homework on the boat!."Isn't life swell?14 people who should have fucking known better. Meanwhile everything fucking sucks.

JLee2027 Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:43 Permalink

Not sure this is our business to intervene here. Isn't this what neocons do? Constantly interfere in the business of other countries? GOD will judge them fairly. You can be assured of that. But the idea of this "control" and "doing the right thing" when it's someone else's issue, is endless. You never solve anything.

Sub MOA (not verified) micksavage2010 Thu, 07/27/2017 - 21:19 Permalink

along with all the other "fairy tales" the mutts believe why not throw a little abrahamic BS in with the mix ...whats the saying unicorns and rainbows LMFAO I got more important things to focus on than the goblins and gnomes for jeebus let's stick to the reality here ignore the head up ass bequeefers 

In reply to by micksavage2010

Faeriedust JLee2027 Thu, 07/27/2017 - 20:18 Permalink

True enough.  We have no right or position to make demands.  OTOH, it IS our responsibility not to actively aid and abet nations that refuse to meet minimum standards of civilized behavior.  We don't arm and assist Somalia and North Korea, for instance.  The only reason we support the Saudis in their excrable actions is their oil.  It would be more honest to conquer them, steal the oil, and impose mandatory reforms -- like we did on Japan and Germany after WWII -- than it is to play sweethearts, help them stomp all over Yemen, and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan to help the Sauds against Iran (one of the world's oldest civilized nations, that makes us look like the un-toilet-trained toddlers we are) WITHOUT making a genuine effort to demonstrate good government.It's often maintained that international affairs must be approached as "Realpolitik", but often these days it seems that that's an excuse for sheer laziness -- trying to make the most minimal investment necessary in order to extract the desired resources in the short term, without any consideration for the long term costs and consequences.  That's not realism; it's an outright refusal to look at the big picture because "it's too HARD".  And it's going to bite us in the ass very soon, when the House of Saud collapses.

In reply to by JLee2027

Nobodys Home Faeriedust Thu, 07/27/2017 - 20:47 Permalink

Pretty strange when you think of the history of this "kingdom". Bedouins, wandering around the desert fighting their fights, ruling their nomadic fiefdoms and along comes Jeb just a shootin at some food, and up from the ground comes a bubblin crude. Lawrence of Arabia, Nationalized tea. Oil that is. Black gold. Backroom deals, Reshuffling the entire mideast's borders.....Well the first thing you know we're headed to Iraq.....The kinfolk said Dubbya stay away from there....

In reply to by Faeriedust

JailBanksters Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:56 Permalink

That's Okay, because Saudi Arabia are NOT Terrorists, they're American Allies.What's NOT Okay is CIA and Mossad pretending to be Extremists lopping off Fake Heads.