Death sentences of Shiites point to limits of Saudi reforms

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Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince hopes to transform the kingdom and modernize society, but the planned execution of 14 Shiite protesters charged with violence against security forces suggests the government’s handling of sectarian tensions and unrest remains unchanged.

Human rights groups allege the trial was unfair, saying the defendants’ confessions were extracted under duress and that some did not have lawyers present in court. Three of the defendants were 17 years old when the alleged crimes were committed.

One of those facing execution is Mujtaba al-Sweikat, a young Saudi man who had been accepted to attend Western Michigan University before his arrest. The American Federation of Teachers, which says it represents 1.6 million members nationwide, is urging President Donald Trump to demand that Saudi Arabia halt the executions.

Source Credit: CNBC
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