Mustafa al-Darwish Biography, Wiki, Age
Mustafa al-Darwish, 26, was executed on Tuesday following the discovery of an “offensive” photograph that showed him in attendance at the Arab Springs riots when he was 17.
The verdict came despite promises from the state that the death penalty would no longer apply for offences committed when defendants were children.
As a 17-year-old, he had been caught up in the Arab Spring protests among the country’s Shi’ite minority which swept through the Eastern Province region in 2011 and 2012.
At the time, small numbers of demonstrators called for reform which prompted the government to pay additional benefits worth around £112 billion to citizens.
Yet, in 2015, he was arrested with two others and accused of a range of offences which included “seeking to disrupt national cohesion through participation in more than 10 riots”.
Mustafa was subsequently placed in solitary confinement and his family said he lost conscious several times during what they described as “brutal interrogation sessions.”
He only later confessed to the crimes in court in order to “make the beatings stop.”
Following his conviction he spent six years on Death Row before being executed on Tuesday.
His family, who only discovered he had been put to death after reading a news report online, described how Mustafa was arrested six years ago with two of his friends in the streets of Tarout.
The police then released him without charge, but confiscated his phone where they discovered a “photograph that was offensive to the security services”.
“Later they called us and told Mustafa to come and collect his phone, but instead of giving it back they detained him and our suffering began,” his family said.
“How can they execute a boy because of a photograph on his phone?
“Since his arrest we have known nothing but pain. It is a living death for the whole family”.
In February 2021, the Riyadh authorities told the UN Human Rights Council that “anyone who commits a death-eligible crime as a child” will be subject to “a maximum sentence of ten years in a juvenile institution”.
But, following Mustafa’s execution, campaigners fear that other youngsters could also die.
Reprieve Director Maya Foa said: “It is not enough for Saudi Arabia’s partners to ‘raise human rights issues’, as British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab reportedly did on his recent visit to the Kingdom.
“They need to raise specific cases, and make clear that executions for childhood crimes will not be tolerated.
“Otherwise Abdullah al-Howaiti – a boy arrested aged 14 and sentenced to death at 17 – could be next”.
Saudi Arabia is currently one of 53 countries to still have the death sentence, employing a variety of methods including hanging, shooting, lethal injection, electrocution and beheading.