A YOUNG lad was tortured with electricity and beheaded in Saudi Arabia because he sent WhatsApp messages about a protest aged 16.
Abdulkarim al-Hawaj, 21, was a schoolboy when he was detained and accused of being a “terrorist” for sending texts online about an anti-government demonstration.
He was a Shiite Muslim – which is a persecuted minority group in Sunni-dominated Saudi – living in the troubled Eastern province.
Abdulkarim was beaten and tortured with electricity while his hands were chained above his head when he “confessed” to his crimes, human rights charity Reprieve said.
According to Amnesty International, his trial was a farce because he was denied access to a proper defence lawyer and convicted on the forced confession.
Aside from torture, the charity also claims that his captors threatened to kill his family if did not confess to the crimes.
This week, he had his head cut from his body in front of a baying, bloodthirsty crowd along with 36 other men in the medieval country.
BUTCHERED FOR SENDING TEXT MESSAGES
Sentencing a person to death who is aged under 18 is banned under international law.
Another victim, Mujtaba al-Sweikat, was a teenager who was set to start a new life in the US, studying at Western Michigan University, when he was arrested for attending an anti-government protest.
The then-17-year-old – who had enrolled in English language and finance – was badly beaten including on the soles of his feet before he “confessed” to crimes against the state.
Human rights charities claim he was also tortured into confessing and convicted in a “sham trial.”
Despite his university protesting his sentence, insisting he had “great promise,” Mujtaba was also beheaded this week.
Reprieve Deputy Director Harriet McCulloch insists both men were sharing information about “peaceful” demonstrations.
She said: “Many things can be used to justify a death sentence in Mohammed Bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia, including ‘disobedience against the King’, ‘preparing banners with anti-state slogans’ and ‘incitement via social media’. Read more