A Saudi Arabian student who was arrested five years ago as he was about to fly to Michigan to attend college, is believed to be facing imminent execution by beheading. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is asking U.S. President Donald Trump, who recently visited Saudi Arabia and concluded an arms deal with the country, to intervene.
Mujtaba Al-Sweikat, who was 17 when he was detained at King Fahd International Airport in 2012, was moved Friday from detention in Dammam to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where executions by the barbaric practice of beheading customarily take place.
Mujtaba’a was accused of attending protests that began in February 2011 and continued through 2012. United Nations observers have described these protests as peaceful.
Since his arrest Mujtaba’a was held in detention in Dammam. He was tried and subsequently sentenced to death on June 1, 2016. On May 25of this year, Saudi Arabia’s high court confirmed his death sentence. International human rights organizations believe that his execution by beheading may be imminent.Below are statements of two AFT leaders:
AFT President Randi Weingarten:
“Saudi Arabia’s threat to behead its own citizens for attending an anti-government protest is an unthinkable and despicable violation of international law and basic humanity. This group includes two youths—one of whom, Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat, was at the airport coming to the United States to attend college when he was arrested—a man with disabilities, and 11 other people. People must have a right to speak and associate freely. Should these executions occur, Saudi Arabia should be considered a pariah nation by the world. We implore President Trump, as the standard-bearer for our great nation, to do everything in his power to stop the atrocities that may otherwise take place in Saudi Arabia.”
AFT Michigan President David Hecker:
“At this hour, we understand that Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat was a student on his way to the United States to attend the University of Michigan when he was arrested without charges, purportedly for attending a political rally. President Trump displayed a close relationship with Saudi leaders during his recent trip to the kingdom. I urge him to use that relationship to plead with the new Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to halt the executions.”
Do you think the United States should do business with a country that sentences minors to be executed for peaceful protesting? What is our obligation in terms of intervention? Should we not be sanctioning the Saudis for such human rights abuses? Does anyone think Trump really cares? I thought I heard Trump comment on the barbarism of ISIS beheadings? is this any different or is Trump’s disdain discriminatory?