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Carey Wedler

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US Ignores Saudi Beheading of 14 Activists, Labels Venezuela Dictatorship Despite Elections

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This week, the Trump administration condemned the Venezuelan government following the country’s recent election. But as the US imposes sanctions on Venezuela and vocally decries their lack of democracy, President Trump’s outrage is all but nonexistent as a US ally preparing to behead 14 students for protesting. Though the Venezuelan regime is undoubtedly corrupt, the president’s outrage is meaningless in light of his lack of concern for the victims of US allies.

In June of last year, Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court ordered the beheadings of 14 young people they convicted of waging an armed rebellion against the regime during pro-democracy protests in 2011 and 2012. Amnesty International summarized the charges against them:
They were convicted of a range of charges that included ‘armed rebellion against the ruler’ by, among other things ‘participating in shooting at security personnel, security vehicles,’ ‘preparing and using Molotov Cocktail bombs,’ ‘theft and armed robbery’ and ‘inciting chaos, organizing and participating in riots.’
However, both Amnesty International and Reprieve, another human rights organization, assert that according to court documents, these convictions were largely based on confessions extracted through torture. The beheadings were finalized this month, and the SCC failed to investigate the defendants’ claims they were forced to confess.

The demonstrators were recently moved to a Saudi prison in Riyadh where individuals awaiting execution are housed. One of those individuals is a Saudi student who was on his way to study at Western Michigan University in 2012 when he was intercepted at a Saudi airport in 2012 and held for years before trial. Multiple entities have intervened on his behalf, specifically. Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat is partially deaf and partially blind and attended protests against the monarchy in 2011 and 2012.
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