We have been hearing for years that Saudi Arabia has gradually been abandoning centuries of strict Islamic orthodoxy and becoming more westernized. In March 2018, the country opened its air space to flights bound to and from Israel for the first time. Two months later, the kingdom entered to its first-ever agreement with the Vatican to build Christian churches.
Then just when it looked like the Saudis had turned a corner into at least the twentieth, if not the twenty-first, century, they went and spoiled it all by doing something stupid by permitting, if not sanctioning, the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post reporter Jamal Kashoggi who had been critical of the nation’s rulers.
And now they’ve done it again. According to Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ, a 24-year-old man who had been under detention since 2012 when he was on his way to the U.S. to attend college, was beheaded. His crime? Allegations that he had taken part in a pro-democracy rally during the Arab Spring.
Mutjaba al-Sweikat was headed to Western Michigan University in 2012 when he was detained at the airport in Saudi Arabia. He was just 17 at the time. …
Tuesday night, the Saudi Press Agency says Mutjaba al-Sweikat was one of more than 30 people beheaded in a mass execution.
According to the Detroit Free Press, al-Sweikat was “was severely beaten all over his body, including the soles of his feet” during his time in custody. In in 2015, he “was charged with armed disobedience against the king, as well as attacking, shooting and injuring security forces, civilians and passersby.” All charges were based on a confession that had been extracted from him under torture. In 2016, he was sentenced to death.