A young man has been put to death by Saudi Arabia after an ‘offensive’ photograph was found on his phone following anti-government protests he had taken part in as a teenager.
Mustafa al-Darwish, 26, was executed despite promises from the desert kingdom that the death penalty would no longer apply for offences committed when defendants were children.
As a 17-year-old, he had been caught up in Arab Spring protests among the country’s Shi’ite minority which swept through the Eastern Province region in 2011 and 2012.
Three years later, in 2015, he was arrested and accused of a range of offences such as ‘seeking to disrupt national cohesion through participation in more than 10 riots’. He was beheaded this week.
Mustafa’s family, who only discovered he had been put to death after reading a news report online, described how he was arrested six years ago with two of his friends in the streets of Tarout.
The police then released him without charge, but confiscated his phone where they discovered a “photograph that was offensive to the security services”.
“Later they called us and told Mustafa to come and collect his phone, but instead of giving it back they detained him and our suffering began,” his family said.
“How can they execute a boy because of a photograph on his phone?
“Since his arrest we have known nothing but pain. It is a living death for the whole family”.