Man beheaded in Saudi Arabia was 17 and on his way to study in US when he was detained for 'attending' peaceful protest
A man, who has recently beheaded in Saudi Arabia along with 37 others, was 17 years old and on his way to visit a college in Michigan, when he was first detained by officials. Mujtaba al-Sweikat had been accepted to study finance at the Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and he was on his way to visit the campus when he was arrested.
Reports state that Saudi authorities apprehended Al-Sweikat in December 2012 after he attended a pro-democracy rally in the country earlier that year. The 17-year-old was charged with armed disobedience against the king and attacking, shooting, injuring security forces and civilians during the demonstration, according to the Detroit Free Press. He was also accused of destroying public property, disrupting peace and causing chaos by participating in a terrorist cell to make and deliver Molotov cocktails.
Reprieve, an international human rights group, claimed al-Sweikat was severely beaten and was convicted on the basis of a confession which was extracted through torture, reports state. The Saudi Press Agency announced the beheadings in a press release on Tuesday.
Al-Sweikat, who was taken into custody at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam Saudi Arabia, was burned with cigarettes and was beaten to elicit a "confession" from him, which resulted in his shoulder being broken, Reprieve said.
A representative of the human rights group said that he was not permitted to contact anyone for three days and was kept in solitary confinement for three months. Reports state that the teen's family was not permitted to see him during that time. Al-Sweikat was reportedly planning to study the English language and take courses in the pre-finance department at WMU for his fall classes.
Freshman Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, on Tuesday, slammed the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, on Twitter, accusing him of "torturing and executing children."
"Saudi Arabia ruler MBS tortures & executes children. Already this year, he has killed 100 people. At least 3 today were arrested as teenagers & tortured into false confessions. He killed them for attending protests!" Tlaib tweeted.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) also condemned the killing after al-Sweikat's death was announced this week: "The violent killing of Mutjaba al-Sweikat is disturbing," she said in a statement.
"Mutjaba had a bright future ahead of him and Michigan was prepared to welcome him as a student. Instead, he faced inhumane torture and pain ultimately leading to his execution," she added. "Every human, regardless of where they may be in the world, should have the right to speak openly without fear of persecution or death. Right now, I stand in unity with Mutjaba's family and friends. I will never stop speaking up for all who promote free speech and due process around the world."