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Saudi Arabian Authorities Arrest Three Bloggers and Execute 37 Prisoners, Several of Them Protesters

Netizen Report Team

In Saudi Arabia, 37 prisoners were executed by beheading on April 23. Most of those killed belonged to the Shia Muslim community, a minority in the kingdom. All were men.

According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, 14 of those executed were arrested after joining anti-government protests. Both groups say the men were forced to confess to “protest-related crimes” after being tortured, and that they later sought to retract their confessions in court, as they were given under duress. They were nevertheless sentenced to death.

Lynn Maalouf, who serves as Amnesty International’s Middle East research director, called the executions “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.”

Just a few days prior, three Saudi bloggers were arrested as part of an ongoing crackdown on journalists and activists that drew headlines in October 2018 with the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.

Authorities haven’t publicly stated why they’ve detained Naif al-Hindas, Ali al-Saffar and Redha al-Boori, who have not been active as writers for some time. In 2015, Al-Saffar and al-Boori had written about regional security issues, and Al-Hindas wrote about philosophy, feminism, and other cultural and political topics up until mid-2018.

As of December 1, 2018, there were at least 16 journalists in prison in Saudi Arabia. All told, these legal cases and executions demonstrate the extreme measures the Saudi government is willing to take in order to prevent criticism and legitimate media work in the kingdom.

This story by Netizen Report Team was originally published on GlobalVoices as part of a larger report into global technology and human rights. It is shared under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.

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America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier

by Robert Vitalis

America’s Kingdom debunks the many myths that now surround the United States’ special relationship with Saudi Arabia, also known as ‘the deal’: oil for security. Exploding the long-established myth that the Arabian American Oil Company, Aramco, made miracles happen in the desert, Robert Vitalis shows how oil led the U.S. government to follow the company to the kingdom, and how oil and ARAMCO quickly became America’s largest single overseas private enterprise.From the establishment in the 1930s of a Jim Crow system in the Dhahran oil camps, modeled on similar labor camps set up in Latin America, the book examines the period of unrest in the 1950s and 1960s when workers challenged the racial hierarchy of ARAMCO while a small cadre of progressive Saudis challenged the hierarchy of the international oil market. The defeat of these groups led to the consolidation of America’s Kingdom under the House of Fahd, the royal faction that still rules today. Informed by first-hand accounts from ARAMCO employees and top U.S. government officials, this book offers the true story of the events on the Saudi oil fields.


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