SAUDI ARABIA: DEATH PENALTY ISSUED FOR SHIITE MINOR
July 27, 2016: The Specialised Criminal Court in Saudi Arabia issued its
initial judgement, in which a death penalty sentence was issued against Shiite
minor Abdulkareem Al Hawaj.
Al Hawajâs death sentence judgement is in addition to other
detainees who are in danger of execution, and are issued trials that are not in
accordance with international fair principles.
Al Hawaj joins the list of nine other Shiite minors who have
been issued with death penalties and are awaiting execution.
Al Hawaj, who was born on 19th November 1995, was arrested
on 16 January 2014 by men in civilian clothing, and it is believed that these
men were linked to the General Directorate of Investigation.
The forces stopped Abdulkareem while he was on his way home
from work, at a Check Point on Al Hadaleh Street in Al Awamia, Qatif. They
pointed their weapons at his face and arrested him without presentation of any
arrest warrant, and took him, with along with his car, to an unknown location.
The forces did not inform his family about his location, but
after days of his disappearance his family came to know of his location via
unofficial sources, who informed them that he had been arrested by the
Abdulkareem was arrested for five months, where he was
placed in solitary confinement, during which time he was not allowed to communicate
with the outside world or with person, including family members.
He was subjected to torture during his investigation, and
the purpose of the torture tortured him coerce him into confessing to the trumped
up charges levied against him. During his torture ordeal, he was beaten by
sticks and electric wires and kicked by officers with heavy shoes. His hands
were chained high for more than 12 hours and he was prevented using the
bathroom in this time.
In addition to the physical torture, he also faced
psychological torment by being insulted, as well as threats to kill his parents
and remove his nails.
Abdulkareem was forbidden from contact with any lawyer
during the investigation period, but finally after two years, at the beginning
of court session, his family appointed a lawyer for him.
The family were subjected to harassment during their
visiting time and the lawyer also subjected to harassment and the court failed
to respond to the lawyer legitimate and lawful requests.
Abdulkareem was accused of non-violent charges whilst he was
a minor, and confessions for these charges were extracted from him via torture.
Despite this, the court judgement culminated initial death penalty sentence.
The charges against Al-Hawaj, are not considered to be âthe
most serious of crimesâ and many of the charges levied against him relate to
freedom of opinions and expression.
These charges are:
Involvement in a shooting towards policemen while he was
injured in this accident and went to the hospital, Involved in some marches and
demonstrations, Igniting tires on fire, Preparing some placards with slogans
against the kingdom, Throwing Molotov bombs, Participation in Social media, Used
of the app âWhatsappâ & âZiloâ to locate the checkpoints, Sympathy with
European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR)
confirmed that Abdulkareem Al Hawajâs case, contained multiple violations which
began from the time of arrest until announcement of the court judgement. These
violations contravene both international conventions and local rules and laws
that Saudi Arabia committed to.
He presented to the court after he completed two years
from his arrested period, which is contravention of the Saudi Terrorist law
that they used to judge Abdulkareem. However, this laws allows the
authorities to extend the detention period indefinitely if the case
require it (which does not comply with international norms).
Abdulkareem was tortured, in violation of Saudi domestic of
law that Saudi legality and the UN convention against torture, to which Saudi
became a state party to in 1997.
Abdulkareem Alhawaj execution judgement contravenes the
convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Saudi is a state part. As Al
Hawaj was accusations are related to charges when he was a minor at age 16. The
death penalty judgment is also in violation of the Arab Charter on Human
Rights, of which Saudi Arabia is a member, as his charges do not represent âthe
most serious of crimesâ.
ESOHR calls upon the Saudi authorities to release
Abdulkareem without any attached conditions and demands that the death penalty
by dropped. We also call for a re-trial which should be fair and
impartial, in accordance with international norms.
Saudi Arabia executed more than 110 individuals since the
beginning of 2016. This comes despite criticism and condemnation legal experts
during legal analysis on death sentences issued in Saudi Arabia. (Sources: Ahlul Bayt News Agency, 11/08/2016)