- Saudi Arabia is trying to execute a teenager who has been in jail since 2014, after authorities arrested him for protesting when he was 10, CNN reported.
- Murtaja Qureiris, now 18, had been accused of leading a children’s bike protest in 2011, and turning the funeral of his brother – who was killed by Saudi police in 2012 – into a protest.
- Qureiris has been detained for 5 years, with at least 15 months in solitary confinement, according to CNN.
- Qureiris is accused of leading an a “extremist terror group,” which they say warrants the death penalty. He denies the charges.
- If Qureiris is executed he’ll become the fourth teenager to be killed in 2019. Three teens, all under 18, were killed as part of an execution spree in April, which left 37 people dead.
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Saudi Arabia is seeking the death penalty for an 18-year-old *it* detained in 2014 for protesting on his bicycle as a 10-year-old, a CNN investigation has found.
It would make him the fourth teenager to be executed this year.
Murtaja Qureiris was retrospectively arrested by Saudi police in 2014 for allegedly staging a number of protests during the country’s Arab Spring movement in 2011, CNN reported.
Saudi prosecutors claim that Qureiris’ alleged activities encouraged the “sowing of sedition” and made him part of “an extremist terror group,” which warranted the death penalty, according to CNN. Qureiris denies those charges.
Qureiris is known to have taken part in one protest against the Saudi regime, and is accused of staging at least two more, CNN reported.
In 2011, Qureiris and 30 other children rode their bikes through a city in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province to protest the country’s poor human rights record, CNN reported.
According to the news network, which has seen footage of the protest, Qureiris held a megaphone while he cycled and shouted: “The people demand human rights!”
Qureiris has also been charged with throwing Molotov cocktails at a police station in Awamiya, also in the Eastern Province, from the back of a motorcycle driven by his activist older brother, Ali Qureiris. The exact date of this alleged incident is not known.
Saudi police killed Ali Qureiris at a protest in 2012.
Murtaja Qureiris is also charged with turning his brother’s funeral into a protest march against the regime, CNN reported.
Qureiris was arrested retrospectively for those alleged incidents in 2014, when he and his family were travelling to Bahrain, CNN reported. He has been detained ever since.
He has spent at least 15 months of his nearly-five-year detention solitary confinement, CNN said.
Qureiris also alleges that Saudi officials forced him to make a confession under duress, then proceeded to use it against him in court, CNN reported. It’s not clear when he made the reported confession, or what it contains.
If Qureiris is executed he will become the fourth teenager to be killed in 2019, after three teenagers – all under 18 – were executed on an execution spree across the kingdom announced on April 23, in which 37 people were killed.
CNN’s report of a forced confession echoes earlier reports that many of the 37 Saudis executed in April were forced to sign confessions that had been written for them by Saudi intelligence.
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