A young man was put to death by Saudi Arabia this week after an “offensive” photograph was found on his phone following anti-government protests he had taken part in as a teenager.
Mustafa al-Darwish, 26, was executed despite promises from the desert kingdom that the death penalty would no longer apply for offences committed when defendants were children.
As a 17-year-old, he had been caught up in Arab Spring protests among the country’s Shi’ite minority which swept through the Eastern Province region in 2011 and 2012.
Three years later, in 2015, he was arrested with two and accused of a range of offences such as “seeking to disrupt national cohesion through participation in more than 10 riots”.
Mustafa was placed in solitary confinement and his family said he lost conscious several times during brutal interrogation sessions.
He later said he confessed to the crimes under torture and recanted them in court saying he had only admitted to the offences to make the beatings stop.
Following his conviction he spent six years on Death Row before being executed on Tuesday.
His family, who only discovered he had out to death after reading a news report online, said: “Six years ago, Mustafa was arrested with two of his friends in the streets of Tarout. The police released him without charge but confiscated his phone. We later found that there was a photograph on the phone that offended them.
“Later they called us and told Mustafa to come and collect his phone, but instead of giving it back they detained him and our suffering began. How can they execute a boy because of a photograph on his phone? Since his arrest we have known nothing but pain. It is a living death for the whole family”.