HUnited Nations human rights experts called on Saudi Arabia on Monday to halt the imminent execution of six men sentenced to death for activities related to the Shia rights protests.
They said that since the Saudis were all under age 18 at the time, imposing the death penalty on them would violate international law, including a treaty protecting children ratified by the kingdom.
There has also been growing international criticism of the Saudi-led coalition’s air strikes in Yemen that have caused heavy civilian casualties including children.
The charges against the six men are based on “criminalization of the exercise of fundamental rights, including freedom of assembly and expression”, the UN experts said in a joint statement which gave scant details.
“They were allegedly tortured and ill-treated, forced to confess, denied adequate legal assistance during trial and never had access to an effective complaint mechanism,” it added.
The men were tried in a Riyadh specialized court that handles terrorism-related issues and there is no known appeals process, a UN human rights official said.