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News > Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Bows to Pressure, Not to Execute Teen Arrested at 13 over Protests

  • Saudi teen Murtaja Qureiris will not be executed according to an official.

    Saudi teen Murtaja Qureiris will not be executed according to an official. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 June 2019

Murtaja Qureiris, a teenager from Saudi Arabia’s minority Shia community was arrested at 13-years-old for taking part in protests when he was 10.

A young man from Saudi Arabia's minority Shiite Muslim community who was arrested at the age of 13 will not be executed and could be released by 2022, a Saudi official told Reuters Saturday following reports of his pending execution.


Saudi Arabia: 37 Executed on "Terrorism" Charges

Murtaja Qureiris, who was detained in September 2014, has received an initial 12-year prison sentence with time served since his arrest and four years suspended for his young age, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The sentence is subject to appeal.

"He will not be executed," the official added.

Qureiris, now 18 was detained when 13-years-old for taking part in a Shitte-led protest when he was 10-years-old.

Since then he has been on trial for charges like joining a “terror group” and “sowing sedition.”

He was also charged for taking part in an anti-government rally in 2011 when he was 11-years-old. The rally took place after the funeral of his older brother killed during an Arab Spring protest.

Rights groups including Amnesty International reported this month that the Saudi public prosecutor had sought the death penalty for Qureiris for a series of offenses which helped in a global outcry against the kingdom.

Austria's government said Wednesday it planned to shut a Saudi-funded center for religious dialogue in Vienna after parliament urged it to try to prevent Qureiris' possible execution.

The Saudi government has also come under mounting international scrutiny over its human rights record since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October and the detention of women's rights activists who are still on trial.

The Shiite-majority Eastern Province, where Qureiris is from, became a focal point of unrest in early 2011 with demonstrations calling for an end to discrimination and for reforms in the conservative monarchy. Saudi Arabia denies any discrimination against Shiites.

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