Creating new perspectives since 2009

Family of Saudi teenager seeks US intervention against possible execution

May 9, 2023 at 8:29 pm

An execution is about to take place using the method of hanging [Patrick Feller/Flickr]

The family of a Saudi teenager, who possibly faces the death sentence, is seeking help from the United States to intervene ahead of the upcoming ruling.

After being arrested in 2014 over his participation in protests in Saudi Arabia’s eastern Qatif province where Shia residents and citizens demonstrated against the government’s execution of Shia cleric, Nimr Al-Nimr, and alleged poor treatment of Shias in the Kingdom, Abdullah Al-Darazi has faced the death penalty since 2018.

In a letter addressed to US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, which was seen by The Guardian newspaper, a family member of Darazi wrote that “Saudi Arabia’s government is deaf to our cries but it will listen to you”. The letter emphasised the family’s belief that “You can help bring our sweet and sensitive boy home and prevent him being taken from us forever.”

READ: Saudi Arabia to end execution for crimes committed by minors

According to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which is independent of the government, both Darazi and another young Saudi man named Youssef Al-Manasif are currently detained by Saudi authorities for their participation in the protests.

Since their arrests, they have reportedly been tortured, put in solitary confinement, forced to sign confessions, cut off from all communication and denied full access to legal counsel. Their cases are still currently being reviewed by Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court and, if their sentences are upheld, both will reportedly be subject to immediate execution.

Over the past five years, the Saudi government has introduced the Juvenile Law, which prevents the death penalty for minors, and has resulted in the release of multiple young men who were also charged with protesting and were set to be executed.

Despite that, the Kingdom still exerts exceptions to that law in certain circumstances and, as a result, it still upholds the death penalty in a number of cases involving minors.

READ: Saudi Arabia frees youngest prisoner who faced execution