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A Michigan College-Bound Student Was Among the 35 Beheaded by Saudi Arabia

A Michigan College-Bound Student Was Among the 35 Beheaded by Saudi Arabia

Mujtaba al-Sweikat was only 17 years old when he was detained by the Saudi Arabian government in 2012 for the alleged crime of attending a pro-democracy rally.

He’d been planning on leaving the country to attend Western Michigan University, where he’d been accepted as a student, and was in fact detained at the airport as he was preparing to board an international flight to the United States. But al-Sweikat was convicted based on a confession extracted via torture and beheaded on Tuesday along with more than 35 other men who were executed for various crimes — most having to do with pro-democracy demonstrations and denouncing the authoritarian regime, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The stories of other men executed by their government began to spread on social media. There was Munir Al-Adam, who was arrested for “participating in peaceful protests.” Reports say he was beaten until he was deaf. Haider Mohammed Al Laif was arrested in 2013 and refused to confess to treason, despite being tortured, until Saudi authorities threatened to sexually assault his wife. He signed the confession and was executed, according to reports. Similarly, according to social media reports, Mohammed Mansur Al Nasser refused to confess under torture, but finally signed when his father was threatened.

Here’s a video of Abdullah al-Sareeh, who was arrested for attending a peaceful protest when he was 17 years old, showing his family’s poor living conditions.

Here is a Twitter thread with more stories behind the men who were put to death.

Saudi Arabia is on track to execute more than 300 more people this year, in addition to the 100 executions it has already carried out. The international community has condemned Saudia Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for the executions but M.B.S — as he is known — enjoys a cozy relationship with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor.

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