Amnesty International, lawmakers denounce Saudi executions: 'Appalling'

Amnesty International, lawmakers denounce Saudi executions: 'Appalling'

Amnesty International and several Democratic lawmakers sharply condemned Saudi Arabia's execution of dozens of dissidents this week, which included a student who planned to travel to the U.S. to study at a university.

Saudi officials have accused the group of 37 Saudi nationals who were executed Tuesday of various terrorism-related crimes, including shooting at civilians and forming terrorist cells, while critics contend that those executed were largely pro-democracy activists.

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“Today’s mass execution is a chilling demonstration of the Saudi Arabian authorities' callous disregard for human life. It is also yet another gruesome indication of how the death penalty is being used as a political tool to crush dissent from within the country’s Shi’a minority," Amnesty International's Middle East research director Lynn Maalouf said in a press release.

“The use of the death penalty is always appalling but it is even more shocking when it is applied after unfair trials or against people who were under 18 at the time of the crime, in flagrant violation of international law,” she added, referring to Mujtaba al-Sweikat, a U.S.-bound student who was 17 at the time of his arrest.

Democrats in Congress condemned the executions, as did Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden, Sanders lead Democratic field: poll The Memo: 2020 Democratic tensions burst to surface Sanders should fix the child food programs we already have before creating new dysfunction MORE (I-Vt.), a leading contender for the party's 2020 presidential nomination.

Democratic freshman Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' House passes bill that would give legal status to thousands of undocumented farmworkers Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll MORE (Mich.), the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, also criticized the executions in their own tweets.