July 20, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Kalamazoo, MI – The American Federation of Teachers has joined the chorus urging Saudi Arabia not to behead a U.S.-bound student arrested for participating in a protest in 2012.
Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat, according to the AFT and the British human-rights group Reprieve, was one of 14 political prisoners transferred July 14 from detention in Dammam to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, where executions by beheading have usually taken place. Al-Sweikat, then 17, was arrested at the airport in December 2012 when he was on his way to visit Western Michigan University, which admitted him in 2013. “Mujtaba’a and others were arrested for attending a peaceful, anti-government protest, for which they were sentenced to death, a despicable violation of international law and basic humanity,” AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT Michigan President David Hecker said in a joint statement July 15. “We continue to urge President Trump to demand that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman halt the atrocity of executing Mujtaba’a and the 13 others.” Four people convicted on protest-related charges were beheaded last week, according to Reprieve, and director Maya Foa says al-Sweikat was convicted and sentenced based on “confessions extracted through torture.” Read more
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