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Saudi Arabia executes 3 young Shia men from Qatif

Saudi nationals Haider bin Hassan Muwais (L), Hassan bin Issa Al Muhanna (C), and Muhammad bin Ibrahim Muwais were executed in the Shia-populated Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia, on May 22, 2023. (Photo via Twitter)

Saudi authorities have executed three young men from the Shia-populated Qatif region over charges of involvement in sabotage activities, which critics say are part of a crackdown to silence political dissent.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior alleged in a statement on Monday that the death sentences were carried out against Hassan bin Issa Al Muhanna, Haider bin Hassan Muwais and Muhammad bin Ibrahim Muwais.

The ministry claimed that the Saudi nationals “had joined a foreign-based network in order to carry out acts of terror against the kingdom. They were found guilty of having received training in the use of firearms and making bombs, smuggling men wanted on security charges out of the country, bringing in ammunition and storing them for the purpose of disturbing internal security.”

Back on May 9, Saudi authorities executed Anwar bin Jaafar bin Mahdi al-Alawi, a Saudi national from the Eastern Province, on charges of “attacking a police station, aiding and harboring a man wanted on security charges and possessing ammunition.”

Alawi was found guilty by a criminal court and a royal order was issued to carry out the death sentence.

Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich and predominantly Shia Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the region.

The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown, with regime forces increasing security measures across the province.

Ever since Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has ramped up arrests of activists, bloggers, intellectuals, and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

As a result, Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedoms of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied.

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