A Saudi teenager is facing death by crucifixion in his home country of Saudi Arabia on charges activists say are politically motivated.
In 2012, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, then 17, was arrested in the country’s Qatif province on reportedly shaky charges of illegal protesting and gun possession, the International Business Times reported Wednesday. There was never any evidence to support the guns charge.
After being arrested, al-Nimr was held in jail and not allowed to speak to a lawyer. According to the British legal aid group Reprieve, al-Nimr was subject to torture to extract a forced confession. A closed appeals process — which he was not invited to and occurred without his knowledge — dismissed any remaining possibility that the nation’s legal system would prevent his biblical execution.
“No one should have to go through the ordeal Ali has suffered — torture, forced ‘confession’ and an unfair, secret trial process, resulting in a sentence of death by ‘crucifixion,'” Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, said in a statement.
Al-Nimr was reportedly targeted because his uncle, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, is a noted critic of the kingdom, and is scheduled to be executed Thursday. Foa continued in the statement:
Ali was a vulnerable child when he was arrested and this ordeal began. His execution — based apparently on the authorities’ dislike for his uncle, and his involvement in anti-government protests — would violate international law and the most basic standards of decency. It must be stopped.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s last absolute monarchies, and its legal system has long been criticized asarbitrary and unjust. While most nations have moved away from capital punishment, Saudi Arabia had done the opposite. Under new king Salman, executions are up, with dozens carried out this year. The kingdom recently made headlines after the Ministry of Civil Service posted an official notice seeking qualified executioners.