Rights watchdog says second young Shi'ite Saudi faces beheading

UK-based Reprieve says Saudi court upheld a conviction against Dawoud Al Marhoon, 17, for taking part in anti-gov't protests
Rights watchdog says second young Shi'ite Saudi faces beheading
By Reuters
Wed 07 Oct 2015 08:03 PM

International
rights group Reprieve said on Tuesday that a second young Shi'ite man who was
17-years-old and a minor when he was arrested in 2012 faces execution by
beheading in Saudi Arabia.

The UK-based
organisation said a Saudi court last week upheld a conviction against Dawoud Al
Marhoon for taking part in anti-government protests three years ago and ordered
him to be executed by beheading.

The ruling
follows an earlier case when the same court also upheld a sentence of beheading
and crucifixion on Ali Al Nimr, another young Saudi Shi'ite convicted of taking
part in demonstrations three years ago for democracy and equal rights in Saudi
Arabia's oil-producing Eastern Province.

Nimr's case
raised international concern with France calling on Saudi Arabia not to execute
Nimr, arguing he was a minor when he was arrested.

"With legal
avenues exhausted, both juveniles could now be executed at any time, without
prior notification to their families," Reprieve said in a statement on
Tuesday.

"The
executions are expected to go ahead despite concerns about the fairness of both
trials; Dawoud was sentenced after a number of secret hearings took place
without the presence of his lawyer, who was also blocked from receiving
information about appeal hearings."

A spokesman for
the Saudi justice ministry could not immediately be reached for a comment.
Saudi Arabia has rejected challenges to its judicial system, saying its courts
are fair with a review system that conforms to Islamic teachings.

At the time of
the youths' arrests, Saudi Arabia's Eastern province was rocked by protests by
the Shi'ite population, a minority pushing for more rights in the
Sunni-majority kingdom.

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