Murtaja Qureiris was 10 years old. Wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and black flip-flops, he smiled for the camera as he took off on his bicycle to join a children’s protest for the rights of Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia. “The people demand human rights!” he shouted into a megaphone as he rode along. Three years later, as he and his family were traveling to Bahrain, Murtaja was arrested for the bicycle protest and attending other peaceful demonstrations. He has been in prison since the age of 13. Now that he has turned 18, the kingdom wants to execute him.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo constantly says that Iran needs to behave like a “normal country” but is U.S. ally Saudi Arabia a normal country? Shamefully, the U.S. continues its close relationship with this ruthless kingdom regardless of the number of juveniles, journalists, activists, bloggers, and dissidents it imprisons and executes. Send Secretary Pompeo and Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud a message now: Don’t let Saudi execute child prisoner Murtaja Qureiris.
Murtaja is being tried in Saudi’s “anti-terror” court, where the sentence of execution will be carried out by crucifixion or dismemberment after execution. This is despite any evidence that Murtaja engaged in any violent activity. The only evidence against Murtaja are his confessions, obtained through torture when he was only 13.
If Murtaja is sentenced to death, he will be the third prisoner executed this year by Saudi Arabia for crimes allegedly committed before the age of 18. In April, the country carried out a mass execution of 37 people — 33 of them Shia minority. The UN and human rights groups condemned the mass execution and called for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to be held accountable. But the U.S. made no change to its relationship with the Saudis, once again sending MBS a message that he can act with complete impunity. Will Murtaja be the next victim? Add your name to our petition to Secretary Pompeo and Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Princess Reema asking speak up that Saudi not execute child prisoner Murtaja Qureiris.
Ann, Ariel Carley, Clara, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Lily, Maya, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Paki, Ryan, Sarah, Tighe, Ursula, and Zena
P.S. Want to do more to hold Saudi Arabia accountable? We are asking Lush cosmetics — a company known for social responsibility to close its stores in Saudi Arabia. Send an email now to Lush asking them to speak out in condemnation of the execution of Murtaja Qureiris and then plan a protest outside a Lush store near you. You only need 2 people and 15 minutes to carry out the protests and we have supplies available for you to use.