A Saudi Arabian man who was admitted to a Michigan college was beheaded in Saudi Arabia as part of a mass execution Tuesday.
Mujtaba al-Sweikat was arrested in 2012, then 17, at King Fahd International Airport, Saudi Arabia, for allegedly attending a pro-democracy rally in the middle of the Arab Spring, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday. The government accused al-Sweikat of causing chaos by making Molotov cocktails in a terrorist cell, armed disobedience against the king and hurting security officials and civilians.
The Arab Spring was a group of pro-democracy uprisings, primarily in Muslim countries.
Al-Sweikat was on his way to “begin his studies at Western Michigan University (WMU)” at the time he was detained, according to international human rights group Reprieve.
He was convicted in 2015 based on a confession forced through torture and was given a death sentence in 2016, the Free Press reported.
His body and soles of his feet were severely beaten, according to Reprieve.
WMU faculty called on al-Sweikat’s release in a 2017 letter, according to the Free Press.
“As academics and teachers, we take pride in defending the rights of all people, wherever they may be in the world, to speak freely and debate openly without hindrance or fear,” the letter said. “We publicly declare our support for Mujtaba’a and the 13 others facing imminent execution. No one should face beheading for expressing beliefs in public protests.”
Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib weighed in on the executions on Twitter Tuesday.
“Saudi Arabia’s ruler MBS [Mohammed bin Salman] tortures & executes children,” Tlaib tweeted. “Already this year, he has killed 100 people. At least 3 today were arrested as teenagers & tortured into false confessions. He killed them for attending protests! Think about that.”
WMU and Reprieve did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment