(ANTIMEDIA)Saudi Arabia — The mother of a man sentenced to death by crucifixion and decapitation is pleading with President Obama and the international community to stand against the barbaric ruling.
Nusra al-Ahmed, the mother of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, recently told The Guardian that her son’s punishment was “backwards in the extreme” and said she has seen evidence of torture. In 2012, Ali al-Nimr was charged with attending anti-government protests, using his phone to encourage support for demonstrations, possessing a gun, and armed robbery. Ali al-Nimr allegedly confessed to these crimes but later said his “confessions” were produced through torture.
Nusra al-Ahmed told The Guardian that the protesters “were peaceful and civilised and legitimate and so my fear was, I was afraid for my son, but inside I agreed with them in principle.” She also says when she visited her son she could tell he had been beaten. “When I visited my son for the first time I didn’t recognise him. I didn’t know whether this really was my son Ali or not. I could clearly see a wound on his forehead. Another wound in his nose. They disfigured it. Even his body, he was too thin,” she recalled.
Nimr is not the only young Shi’a activist facing death. Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher were also arrested in 2012 and accused of “participating in killing of police officers by making and using Molotov cocktails to attack them.” Both men also claim to have been tortured until they confessed to the crimes.
All three men were under the age of 18 at the time of their arrests and all three were sentenced to death in 2014. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child makes clear that no death sentences may be imposed for offenses committed by individuals under the age of 18.
James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International, called the death penalty “a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment” and “a flagrant violation of international law” if carried out against someone under the age of 18.
“The fact that all three state that they were tortured and denied access to a lawyer during their interrogations raises further grave concerns about the legal proceedings in their cases,” Lynch stated. “It is abundantly clear that they have had nothing that resembles a fair trial.”
Reports by Amnesty International state that on October 5, the three men were moved to solitary confinement in al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh. According to another recent report by Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia is one of the “most prolific executioners in the world.” In 2014, the Saudi kingdom executed 90 people. As of October 2015, the Saudi’s have executed 137 people. The report also found that death sentences are often the result of unfair trials.
Why do the superpowers of the world continue to do business with this nation? How can the U.S. and the U.K. and all of the NATO nations claim to be about peace, freedom, and prosperity while partnering with and funding the Saudi regime?
The easy answer is oil, of course. But it’s deeper than that. As Anti-Media recently reported, the U.K. is now Saudi Arabia’s largest arms dealer — supplying 36% of its imports. It seems like the U.S. and other Western partners are content to call out the crimes of nations like Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan (among others), but are wary of calling out the crimes of their partners — namely, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The sad reality is that the Saudi royalty knows it is untouchable. This is why the American government will never investigate the Saudi’s role in financing the 9/11 attacks, much less stop the beheading of these young men.
In a wonderful display of arrogance and hubris, Abdallah Y Al-Mouallimi, the Saudi Ambassador to the United Nations, recently spoke to Emily Maitland of the BBC program Newsnight. Maitland reminded the Ambassador the world is watching. “The world is looking at you with outrage right now,” she said. Maitland told the ambassador that U.N. Human Rights Council members are expected to “uphold the highest standards in the protection of human rights.”
Mouallimi told the BBC host that “The application of sharia law as far as human rights is concerned is the highest form of human rights.” The ambassador also stated that “We respectfully request the world to respect our systems and our judicial processes, and our laws and regulations, and not to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.”
The Saudi U.K. embassy stated they will reject “any form of interference in its internal affairs.”
For those who still live in this crazy world with a sense of morality, it is important to remember that silence during times of injustice makes you a guilty partner in the fight against oppression and tyranny. It’s time for every conscious, moral human being to stand up and start fighting for what is right and resisting that which does not represent their vision of a more free world. (It should be noted that not a single presidential candidate has pledged to stop supporting Saudi Arabia.)
If you support petitioning the government for help, please check out this campaign from Amnesty International. If petitioning feels like an inefficient use of your time, consider organizing a protest, rally, infojam, prayer, or meditation to help bring awareness to this situation. For those who really want to take a shot at the power structures that allow these atrocities to happen, consider divesting from the system, starting with your taxes. If enough people were to decide to stop funding these maniacs, we might actually see the end of America’s tax payer-funded destruction.