News ID: 112725
Publish Date : 24 February 2023 - 21:42

Saudi Arabia Hands Down Death Sentence to Shia Activist

QATIF (Dispatches) – Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court has sentenced an anti-regime activist from the kingdom’s oil-rich and Shia-populated Eastern Province to death, as the House of Saud is pressing ahead with a heavy-handed crackdown against members of the religious community.
The Riyadh-based tribunal found Mohammed Abdullah al-Faraj guilty of trumped-up charges of “membership in a terror cell, attempts to assassinate Judge Mohammad al-Jirani, shooting at security forces and their cars, chanting slogans against the government, setting tires on fire, and providing medical support to convicted criminals.”
This comes as the Saudi Prosecutor’s Office leveled other charges of “attempts to instigate public opinion, participation in sit-ins and funerals, incitement of demonstrations, and contacting opposition groups on social networks.”
Saudi regime forces in plainclothes raided Faraj’s workplace in the city of Dammam on February 28, 2017, arrested him without a warrant and took him to prison.
He was not allowed to contact his family until a week after his arrest. Later on, Saudi authorities put him in solitary confinement, and he had no contact with his family for 4 months.
The Shia dissident used to be severely tortured and beaten with his hands tied to the door of his cell. Prison guards would also hang him from the ceiling with a rope, and mercilessly beat him unconscious.
Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the region.
The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown, with regime forces increasing security measures across the province.
Ever since Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested dozens of activists, bloggers, intellectuals, and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.