In a rare move, the Saudi Ministry of Justice has released a statement defending the kingdom’s decision to execute 14 ‘terrorists’, including one teenaged pro-Democracy protester who was about to board a flight to study in the US.
The ministry’s spokesman, Sheikh Mansour Al-Ghafari, said that all defendants received a fair trial with “full legal rights” in the presence of representatives from human rights groups. He said that the defendants were allowed to chose their own attorneys, and that death sentences are only handed down for the most serious of cases which threaten the security of society.
Saudi Arabia has been the focus of of media attention recently after it emerged that one of the 14 people set to be executed is a visually and hearing impaired man who was arrested as a teenager at the airport. He was travelling to the US to study at Western Michigan University.
Lawmakers and activists in the US have urged President Donald Trump to intervene and stop the executions from being carried out.
The defendants are reportedly all from Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority community and had been involved in protests against the oppression and persecution they face at the hands of the Sunni government.
Saudi Arabia and pro-Saudi media have reported that the men are ‘terrorists’ who had been involved in the killing of civilians.