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Saudi court overturns death sentence for man convicted as minor; retrial to follow

A Saudi court overturned a conviction on a death penalty charge for a young man following what rights groups called a “grossly unfair trial” for crimes committed when he was a minor, his family said on Wednesday.

“The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia overturned the judgment on behalf of my youngest son, Abdullah al-Huwaiti,” his mother wrote on Twitter, thanking everyone who stood by her.

Saudi law stipulates that there must now be a retrial in his case, the anti-death penalty charity Reprieve said.

Huwaiti was arrested when he was 14 years old and sentenced to death three years later on murder and armed robbery charges along with five other defendants, in a case closely monitored by rights groups. Human Rights Watch and Reprieve have said all six defendants in his case told the court at trial that the interrogators coerced their confessions through torture or the threat of it.

“We remain concerned for Abdullah Al-Howaiti’s life, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling,” said Taha al-Hajji, a Saudi lawyer with the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights. Read the full story in Reuters.