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 SandersSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE (I-Vt.), a leading contender for the party's 2020 presidential nomination.

Democratic freshman Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMaher hits back at Tlaib: Does she 'want to boycott 93 percent of her own party?' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' Trump ramps up attacks on Tlaib MORE (Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMaher hits back at Tlaib: Does she 'want to boycott 93 percent of her own party?' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' Trump ramps up attacks on Tlaib MORE (Mich.), the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, also criticized the executions in their own tweets.