It’s illegal to protest in Saudi Arabia and this boy who was 13 years old was arrested shortly after the protest. He was traveling with his family to Bahrain when he was detained by Saudi border authorities.
Today Qureiris is 18 years old. He is still in jail and now faces the death penalty.
Charges on this teenager
Well it actually took four years for government to charge him. When they finally did, they said he was a member of a terrorist organisation.
Qureiris is from a Shia family. A family of demonstrating what THEY (Saudi government) say is unfair. His brother was killed by the Saudi forces in a rally, one of the incidents the government used to charge Qureiris with four years after his arrest. His brothers funeral, which authorities say turned into a march against the royal family. Qureiris was just 11 at the time.
I mentioned about Qureiris belonging to a Shia family because the Shia minority, largely in the east of the country have felt marginalised in the kingdom for a long time. Protests aren’t new neither are arrests but as Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman arose to power, the government crackdown on Shias intensified. On April 23rd 2019 Saudi Arabia announced that it had executed 37 people, one of the largest mass executions in the Kingdom’s history. The majority were Shia and three were killed for protests related crimes they’d committed as minors.
The prosecutor in Murtaja Qureiris case is not only calling for the death penalty but for his body to be crucified or dismembered afterwards.
Saudi Arabia has often labelled protesters as terrorists and often describe protests as violent. Saudi activists maintain the funeral turned rally where Murtaja Qureiris was arrested was peaceful.
It’s difficult to hear from Murtaja Qureiris family or his lawyer but it’s illegal for Saudi citizens to speak to foreign journalists in the details of this case.
Where does Murtaja Qureiris stand now?
Crimes allegedly committed when he was just 10 years old. Some of the charges relying one confessions with only a thumbprint for conformation.
Today Murtaja Qureiris awaits a rulling..
Will he be spared the death sentence?