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Human rights groups condemn Saudi execution of 26-year-old man

HUMAN rights groups have condemned Saudi Arabia following the execution of a 26-year-old man arrested in 2015 for allegedly taking part in anti-government protests as a minor. 

Mustafa Hashem al-Darwish was executed in Dammam, a city in the oil-rich Eastern Province, according to the Saudi interior ministry. 

His parents were not informed of the execution and only found out about their son’s fate online. 

Saudi authorities say he was charged with forming a terror cell and trying to carry out an armed revolt.

But Reprieve and Amnesty International say that he was a minor at the time of the alleged offence, questioning the evidence against him and saying the confession, which he had since recanted, was obtained under torture. 

Saudi authorities said last year that they would no longer hand out death sentences to people who committed crimes while they were minors, and instead only apply a maximum 10-year jail sentence.

But the new law could not be applied retroactively, the government said.

Reprieve director Maya Foa said: “It is not enough for Saudi Arabia’s partners to ‘raise human rights issues,’ as British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab reportedly did on his recent visit to the kingdom. They need to raise specific cases, and make clear that executions for childhood crimes will not be tolerated.”

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