A young man from Saudi Arabia who was arrested when he was 13-years-old for participating in an anti-government protest will not be executed and could be released by 2022, officials have confirmed.
The man, identified as Murtaja Quereris, was arrested by the Saudi officials back in September 2014. He was granted an initial 12 year jail term, which includes time served in prison since his arrest. After four years of probation, he is currently left with three years of prison term left to serve, sources revealed to Reuters.
As a child, Quereris was sent to the detention centre for participating in bike protests in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province during the Arab Spring uprising in 2011. He was later moved to al-Mabaheth prison in May 2017, an adult facility, even though he was still only 16 years old.
The charges held against him include participating in anti-government protests, attending the funeral of his brother, Ali Qureiris (killed in a protest in 2011), joining a "terrorist organisation," throwing Molotov cocktails at a police station and firing at security forces.
Qureiris case caught international attention after CNN did an investigative piece the teenager boy who was facing death penalty by the Saudi government. The report and later human rights group, Amnesty International highlighted the issue of state-sponsored anti-dissent executions of those who participated in anti-government rallies in Saudi Arabia.
It is argued that Qureiris' case is part of the government's crackdown of Shi'a minorities and political dissenters since the Crown prince Muhammad bin Salman took over the throne in 2015.
In April, officials had carried out the execution of two minors including Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, a Shi'a boy who was arrested when he was 16-years old based on offences related to involvement in anti-government protests. He was among 37 men put to death in one day as part of an execution spree. Most of the executed men belonged to the Shi'a community.
According to the Interior Ministry, Saudi Arabia executed 139 people in 2018.