The condemned includes a young student named Mujtaba al-Suweyket, who was only 17 at the time of his sentencing and was about to study in a U.S. university.
Saudi Arabia, the Gulf kingdom ruled by an absolute monarchy and key United States ally, is planning to behead 14 men for participating in anti-government protests after what Amnesty international called a “grossly unfair mass trial.”
“By confirming these sentences Saudi Arabia's authorities have displayed their ruthless commitment to the use of the death penalty as a weapon to crush dissent and neutralize political opponents,” Samah Hadid of Amnesty International said.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia decided to uphold the sentences, and the 14 men were transferred to Riyadh, indicating that the beheadings could occur anytime.
“King Salman's signature is now all that stands between them and their execution,” Hadid said.
According to Amnesty International, the condemned prisoners were “subjected to prolonged pre-trial detention and had been tortured and otherwise ill-treated during their interrogation to extract their 'confessions'.”