Will Saudi regime behead another teenager for free speech?


Dawoud al-Marhoun before he was arrested

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Second Saudi juvenile faces beheading, a day after Cameron was questioned over ‘squalid’ human rights deal

Dawoud al-Marhoon was 17 when he was arrested in 2012 and has been in solitary confinement since

Olivia Blair

Wednesday 7 October 2015 16:05 BST

It’s been revealed a second juvenile is facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, a day after David Cameron was confronted about the case of a 17-year-old sentenced to ‘crucifixion’ in the country.

According to human rights organisation Reprieve, Dawoud al-Marhoon had his death by beheading sentence upheld by the Saudi Specialised Criminal Court.

Mr al-Marhoon, 20, was reportedly arrested for activity linked with anti-government protesting during the Arab Spring in 2012, when he was 17. He was allegedly tortured and made to sign a confession statement and has been in solitary confinement since.

Allegedly, he has not been allowed contact with his lawyer and has been subject to secret trials without legal representation.

The case echoes that of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was 14 at the time of his arrest during the Arab Spring, and is also facing the death penalty.

The revelation comes after Mr Cameron was questioned on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record in a widely shared interview with Jon Snow.

This 6 October 2015 video is called David Cameron on Ali Mohammed al-Nimr and Saudi Arabia.

The Prime Minister confirmed the Foreign Secretary had discussed the issue with Saudi Arabia and said he would look to personally raise the issue.

When pressed by Mr Snow on why the UK signed a human rights deal with Saudi Arabia, in light of the country’s human rights “abuses”, Mr Cameron struggled to provide an answer.

Mr Cameron has also been criticised over a bid to build prisons in Saudi Arabia. Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve said it is “grossly hypocritical for David Cameron to say he opposes these sentences, while his government is bidding to support the very prisons service who will be responsible for carrying them out.”

Reprieve say both Mr al-Marhoon and al-Nimr could theoretically be executed at any time with no notification given to their families, as the court has upheld both their sentences.

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