We at the Freemuslim Association, also known as the Center for De-Radicalization and Extremism Prevention (CDREP), cannot help but be deeply concerned over the case of Murtaja Qureiris.
Arrested when he was 13 years old, he is now facing the death penalty five years later over charges of anti-government protests and joining a “terrorist organization.” In the details of the case, the detainee was charged over participating in a bicycle demonstration with a number of boys near his residence in the town of Awamiya when he was only 10 years old. His part in the demonstration, particularly at the tender age of 10 when one is very impressionable and the human brain is still developing, in no way, represents a terrorist crime.
On top of this, the confessions made by young Murtaja are unreliable as they were obtained by the prosecution under duress. Even if Murtaja did indeed use force in the demonstrations about minorities and their minimal rights in Saudi Arabia, it does not justify the use of violence against him and punishment as severe as death, especially when that penalty may come in the form of crucifixion.
Going through with this would violate a number of international human rights, such as protection from torture and cruel and unusual punishments as well as general international law which regards prosecuting minors as adults to be unlawful, and would greatly tarnish Saudi Arabia’s global reputation and relationships with other nations.
The CDREP is troubled about the violence being carried out towards child prisoners by state officials, police officers, and prosecutors. Our goal is also to combat radicalization, and using force is an ineffective way to do it. It is more likely to accomplish the opposite and instead it plants seeds of extremism in children’s minds. The children of today are the future leaders of tomorrow and must be carefully treated as such. This action will be condemned by the international community.
Center for De-Radicalization and Extremism Prevention