Amnesty International said that families of three Saudi young men, including Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr’s nephew, fear their sons are among four people reported to be facing execution on Saturday.
The family of Ali al-Nimr expressed fears on social media that he, along with Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher, are among the prisoners referred to in a government-run newspaper article published on Friday.
Saudi daily, Okaz, reported that the scheduled executions will complete a wave of punishments for “terrorism offences” that saw 47 people executed on Janauary 2.
“If these executions go ahead, Saudi Arabia will demonstrate its utter disdain for international law, which prohibits executions of people for crimes committed under the age of 18. Condemning these young men to death despite grave flaws in their trials and credible allegations that their ‘confessions’ were extracted under torture, would be a sickening example of the authorities’ disregard for human life,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program.
“The Saudi Arabian authorities should immediately stop the planned executions and establish an official moratorium on executions. They must also order impartial investigations into allegations of torture by security officers, and undertake fundamental reform of the judicial system to put an end to such egregious violations.”
Ali al-Nimr was arrested in February 2012 when he was 17 years old, and sentenced to death in May 2014 by the deeply deficient Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in Jeddah for 12 offences that included taking part in anti-government protests, attacking security forces, possessing a machine-gun and carrying out an armed robbery.
His mother told Amnesty International that there were “wounds and swollen bruises” on his body when she visited him in prison and that his treatment there had left him visibly frail and weak.
Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher were arrested on 22 May and 3 March 2012, when they were aged 17 and 16 respectively, and sentenced to death by the SCC in Riyadh in October 2014 on similar charges.
All three have said their “confessions” were obtained under torture and other ill-treatment in detention, but the court has refused to order an investigation into these allegations.