Saudi ARABIA  (TIP) : Saudi Arabia is believed to be on the brink of executing a teenage boy who was arrested at the age of 15 for attending a protest.

Abdullah al-ZaherCampaign group Reprieve told The Independent Abdullah al-Zaher, who is now 19, was the youngest in a group of juvenile offenders put on death row as part of a ruthless crackdown on political dissent in the conservative kingdom.

Previously held alongside fellow juvenile offender Ali al-Nimr, whose case sparked outrage around the world, Abdullah has now been moved to solitary confinement at a new facility and could be beheaded at any moment.

In a last-ditch attempt to save their son’s life – and in spite of the danger of repercussions from the Saudi authorities – Abdullah’s parents have gone public with his story.

Speaking to the Guardian, his father Hassan al-Zaher issued a desperate appeal. He said: “Please help me save my son from the imminent threat of death. He doesn’t deserve to die just because he participated in a protest rally.”

To Advertise Call us @ +1 646 431 4064special-issue

A spokeswoman for Reprieve said Abdullah was arrested “for being in the area of a protest” in March 2012, beaten on the spot by police and tortured.

His family and lawyers believe he was forced to sign a document without knowing its contents, and which later was used as a “confession” in the closed trial against him.

Saudi government-aligned media outlets have been carrying reports in the past couple of weeks suggesting a mass execution of 52 prisoners is due to take place imminently.

And despite assurances to the contrary from the British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, Reprieve understands that this group includes Mr al-Nimr and his uncle, Sheikh Nimr, as well as Abdullah.

The charity has been tracking the cases of three juveniles, the third being 17-year-old protester Dawoud al-Marhoon, and believes they could be killed at any moment.

“What we know from the families of the three is that they are in solitary confinement and being prepared for execution,” a Reprieve spokeswoman said.

“They have been moved and undergone medical examinations, which seem to suggest their beheading is imminent. The whole business of executions in Saudi Arabia is shrouded in secrecy, and prisoners are often beheaded without any notice to family or lawyers.”

Mr al-Zaher described Abdullah as a popular and peaceful boy, and said the condition of his health when he last saw him in prison – three months ago now – was “not good”.

“He loved to ride my horses and wanted to become a medical assistant or nurse someday,” he said. “My son … did not fully understand what the people are protesting for. He was only 15 years old, still a minor, so we expected a lesser punishment if he was proven guilty.” Going public is the last resort for families trying to save their loved ones from Saudi death row. Ali al-Nimr’s own father was arrested in October after speaking to Channel 4 News.

“The Saudi government is very repressive, and a lot of people choose not to go public because of the risk of harassment by the authorities,” Reprieve said. “It seems Abdullah’s family feel they have nothing to lose.”



  1. After reading this alircte, I am still left with a few questions. One of them is: how come the United States is all rounded up now, when Hafez al-Assad and essentially his ideology, came to power because of American involvement with the coup d’etat? I am skeptical to believe that the United States had no idea what was in store for Syrian future, but rather they were more concerned with maintaing power by any means necessary. According to the United States, democracy is only desirable in nations that it would directly benefit from it being so. We stood by as people got slaughtered daily in Chile and Argentina during the 70 s and 80 s, yet the U.S. did NOTHING, because they put those brutal dictators in power. So why is Syria any different? Is it because the United States is compelled to agree with those who are fighting for democracy? Is it really just all a show? My point is this: Over the past few decades, the United States has essentially put brutal dictators in power in order to control the people, but most importantly to control U.S. foreign interests. Not to mention those rulers who govern majority Muslim countries and claim to be Muslim are far from true Islam and everything that it preaches. Imagine a country where Islam and democracy coincide with one another ..(and please don’t bring up Turkey’s model), this serves as a danger to the United States, because as much as it denies it, the truth is that it is at war with Islam; just like at one point the U.S. was at war with communism, and it favored brutal totalitarian regimes over democratically elected socialist governments.

Share your Opinion