RIYADH (Dispatches) –
Saudi authorities have executed a young man from Qatif region in the kingdom’s oil-rich and Shia-populated Eastern Province over trumped-up allegations of ‘terrorist activities’, as a crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against pro-democracy campaigners continues in the country.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA), citing the Ministry of Interior, reported on Monday that the death sentence was carried out against Adnan bin Mustafa al-Sharfa.
The ministry alleged that the Saudi national had “smuggled weapons to and from the kingdom and was part of a terrorist cell that aims to destabilize security in the country.”
The statement further claimed, “The terrorist cell he was a part of had plans to target Saudi Arabian security forces in their headquarters and kill them.”
SPA added that Saudi security forces arrested al-Sharfa, and referred his case to the so-called Specialized Criminal Court in the capital Riyadh, where an investigation was launched.
The Saudi Ministry of Interior said the man was sentenced to death. The ruling was later upheld by the Specialized Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, and a royal order was also issued to enforce the decision.
Saudi Arabia has stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners, in particular in oil-rich and predominantly Shia Eastern Province.
The province has 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 oil-rich region.