Boy arrested for unrest won’t be executed: Saudi
NEW YORK, June 16: A young man from Saudi Arabia's minority Shi'ite Muslim community who was arrested at the age of 13 will not be executed and could be released by 2022, a Saudi official told Reuters on Saturday following reports of his pending execution.
Murtaja Qureiris, who was detained in September 2014, has received an initial 12-year prison sentence with time served since his arrest and four years suspended for his young age, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The sentence is subject to appeal.
"He will not be executed," the official added.
Rights groups including Amnesty International reported this month that the Saudi public prosecutor had sought the death penalty for Qureiris for a series of offences, some of which they said date back to when he was 10 years old.
Riyadh has come under mounting international scrutiny over its human rights record since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October and the detention of women's rights activists who are still on trial.
Austria's government said on Wednesday it planned to shut a Saudi-funded centre for religious dialogue in Vienna after parliament urged it to try to prevent Qureiris' possible execution.
In April, the Sunni-ruled kingdom beheaded 37 men for terrorism crimes. The UN human rights chief said most of them were Shi'ites who may not have had fair trials and at least three were minors when sentenced. -Reuters