Saudi Arabia executes man for committing anti-kingdom protest as teenager

Saudi Arabia executed a man for offences he committed when he was 17, despite the kingdom’s assurance that it had death penalty abolished for minors.

Mustafa Hashem al-Darwish was arrested in 2015 for protest-related offences.

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

Right groups called for a stop on his execution saying his trial was unfair.

Anti-death penalty charity groups such as Amnesty International and Reprieve said al-Darwish recanted his confession, which was allegedly made after he was tortured.

According to Reuters news agency, al-Darwish’s charges included “seeking to disturb security by rioting” and “sowing discord”.

Evidence against him included a picture “offensive to the security forces”, and his participation in over 10 “riot” gatherings in 2011 and 2012.

The Saudi government also accused al-Dadwish of attempt to killing security personnel.

Reprieve said al-Darwish’s family received no warning about the execution in advance, and only learned about it online.

“How can they execute a boy because of a photograph on his phone?,” his family said in a statement.

“Since his arrest, we have known nothing but pain. It is a living death for the whole family.”

The Saudi interior ministry, cited by state news agency SPA, said al-Darwish was executed in Dammam, a city in the oil-rich Eastern Province

Last year the Saudi government said 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.

The royal decree said the new law would be applied retroactively to those awaiting execution.