While we should be relieved that the model ‘Khulood’ was spared punishment by the ruthless and barbaric Saudi Arabian ‘justice’ system, that should not delude us into thinking that the system is getting better. That welcome result was likely due to the international outcry. We still face atrocities like the 14 young men who are to be beheaded, yes, beheaded, because they attended pro-democracy protests. The group includes one man Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat who was arrested in 2012 at the airport on his way to begin graduate studies in the US, and has been in prison ever since.
He was part of a group of 14 young men arrested for attending pro-democracy protests in the ultra-conservative kingdom, which has one of the worst human rights records in the world and is believed to have executed 57 people so far this year.
According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the men confessed to crimes under torture and were put on death row after more than two and a half years of pre-trial detention. Many have since retracted their confessions.
The UK charity Reprieve understands that one of the condemned men is half-deaf and partially blind.
Mr Al-Sweikat was tried in June 2016 and sentenced to death by beheading, with the verdict upheld on 25 May this year, according to the US teachers’ union the American Federation of Teachers.
The only way these people may be spared is by an international outcry led by the US president, the British prime minister, and other leaders of the west. But of course Trump and May have maintained a deafening silence on this issue. For them human rights only matter as a means of discrediting governments they don’t like. They will continue to grovel before the Saudi rulers.