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US urged to intervene to stop death sentence for Saudi teenagers

The Guardian reports on Saudi teenagers Abdullah al-Derazi and Youssef al-Manasif, sentenced to death in the country for ‘protest crimes’. The family of Abdullah al-Derazi have written to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to urge him to intervene with Saudi Arabia on his behalf.

Reprieve represents both Abdullah al-Derazi and Youssef al-Manasif, and found in our recent report on the Saudi Arabian death penalty that al-Manasif’s supposed crimes included attending funerals at the age of 15 and 17 that Saudi authorities classed as ‘protests’. al-Derazi was similarly arrested and disappeared for 3 months in August 2017 for ‘protest crimes’ allegedly committed when he was 17.

US President Joe Biden has been criticised for his lack of action on human rights in Saudi Arabia. Two US Senators, Chris Murphy and Mike Lee, have introduced a resolution to Congress that would force the White House to release a report on Saudi Arabian human rights violations, and an explanation of what they will do to tackle them

Maya Foa, Reprieve’s US director, said: “Biden had not only promised to make Saudi Arabia a ‘pariah’ state, but also to hold it accountable. His fist-bump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman symbolised the craven abandonment of those goals. Perhaps Senate action will help him to honour his promise.”