A Saudi national, who was on his way to the United States for college, is going to be beheaded in his home country for attending a pro-democracy rally according to officials.  Mujtaba’a Al-Sweikat was 17 years old was arrested by attending anti-government protests last 2012 at the airport and was set to attend Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo as a student. He wanted to study finance. Al-Sweikat was detained at facility in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, since his arrest, according to MLive. He was sentenced to death on June 1, 2016. He was among the group of at least 14 people, including disabled Munir al-Adam, taken into custody for protesting against the ultra-conservative Saudi regime. Saudi Arabia was notorious in its beheadings they carried out 154 execution last 2016. The U.K.-based human rights group Reprieve denounced Al-Sweikat and al-Adam’s impending executions in a statement. The verdict was upheld by the country’s high court in May. According to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), on Saturday he was moved to Riyadh, where executions usually take place. President Donald Trump visited Riyadh in May. He has repeatedly emphasized ties with Saudi Arabia and personal friendship with its monarch, King Salman. Western Michigan University’s executive director of university relations, Cheryl Roland, confirmed that al-Sweikat had been accepted to study at the college but said that the institution was unaware that “such a troubling reason” was behind his failure to show up on campus. AFT Michigan President David Hecker called on President Donald Trump to use his relationship with Saudi leaders to stop the executions. The statement did not indicate al-Sweikat’s current status, but stated that his beheading is “imminent.” The increasingly brutal Saudi Arabian regime has ramped up executions for protest-related offenses in recent days, and this latest move is extremely worrying,” said Maya Foa, director of Reprieve.
Mujtaba was a promising 17-year-old boy on his way to study in Michigan when he was arrested, beaten, and later sentenced to death on the basis of a ‘confession’ extracted through torture. He now faces the imminent threat of beheading along with 14 others, including at least one other juvenile and a young disabled man. Mujtaba is part of a group facing execution by beheading for offenses related to attending protests, Reprieve said. Reprieve obtained information about Mujtaba and the others from his friends. They were convicted and sentenced to death by Saudi Arabia’s controversial Specialised Criminal Court, which, although established to hear terrorism cases, has been used by authorities to silence dissent through the use of the death penalty, All 14 men and boys were transferred recently to Riyadh from Dammam Mabahith prison in preparation for their execution. However, the current execution practice is so shrouded in secrecy that not even their families know when they will be executed; only the King, who issues a decree ordering their execution.