Trump must condemn Saudi juvenile executions

(Reprieve) – Human rights organization Reprieve has urged President Trump to call for the release of three Saudi juveniles who face execution on terrorism charges, after they allegedly attended protests.

Ali al Nimr, Dawoud al Marhoon and Abdullah al Zaher were 17, 17 and 15 when they were arrested in the wake of protests in 2012. They were tortured into making false confessions, and sentenced to death in a secretive counter-terrorism court. They could now be executed at any time by beheading – and, in Ali’s case, ‘crucifixion.’

According to reports today, the Saudi government plans to make counter-terrorism cooperation a central theme of President Trump’s visit to Riyadh tomorrow; the visit will include a counter-terrorism forum and the opening of a centre to “fight radical thought.”

In a letter to the President, Reprieve has urged him to secure the release of Ali, Dawoud and Abdullah. The letter warns Mr Trump that the Saudi authorities are “persecuting innocent children in the name of the global fight against terrorism.”

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Commenting, Maya Foa, a Director at Reprieve, said:

“The Saudi authorities are presiding over a wave of repression, with children as young as 15 sentenced to beheading for the so-called ‘crime’ of attending peaceful protests – all in the name of the war on terror. Now these same authorities are seeking to court President Trump with their counter-terrorism strategies.

 

“Torture, forced confessions, secret courts and executions of children should not be part of any country’s national security strategy. President Trump should stand up for American values by condemning these abuses – and he must call for the release of Ali, Dawoud and Abdullah.”

This report prepared by Reprieve.