On Tuesday April 23rd, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia put to death 37 men on charges of terrorism, in their largest mass execution since 2016. One of the prisoners was crucified after being beheaded. Most of the prisoners were of the Shia minority, and according to Amnesty International the trials were shams that relied on information gained through torture and forced confessions.
One of the men executed was arrested for a crime he committed when he was only 16 years old. Abdulkareem al-Hawaj was arrested January 16th 2014 at a checkpoint in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, for his involvement in anti-government protests in 2012. He was allegedly tortured and forced to sign a confession that would seal his fate of capital punishment.
The Saudi Press Agency issued a statement, "The Ministry of Interior announced that capital punishment has been carried out in the regions of Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Eastern, Qassim, and Asir on a number of culprits who have adopted the extremist terrorist ideology and formed terrorist cells to spread corruption, insecurity, chaos, sedition and sectarianism and threaten the public peace and social welfare in addition to attacking security headquarters by using explosive bombs, killing of a number of security men and breaching of the trust in cooperation with hostile parties harming the supreme interests of the country."
Not surprisingly this story has barely been a blip on the radar in the mainstream media. Since the outrage over the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi has quieted down the mainstream media has gone back to almost ignoring the war in Yemen and other human rights violations of one of our major allies. A recent article from FAIR written on April 9th said MSNBC had failed to cover the war in Yemen at all up to that point in 2019.
While Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton pretend to care about the people of Iran and Venezuela the Saudis continue to carry out a brutal war on the people of Yemen, arm Al Qaeda, jail and execute activists inside the Kingdom. Trumps relationship with the Saudis and his vetoing of the bill to end our involvement in Yemen are some of the biggest scandals of his presidency and our media should treat them as such.
Dave DeCamp is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US Foreign policy and wars.