Saudi Arabia releases Murtaja Qureiris, once the youngest political prisoner in the kingdom — ESOHR
After almost four years in pre-trial detention, before his 18th birthday, he was presented with a charge sheet recommending the death penalty.
Prosecutors alleged that Qureiris belonged to “an extremist terror group” and committed violence during protests, including allegedly helping construct Molotov cocktails. Qureiris denied all of the allegations against him.
He was 10 years old when he allegedly committed at least one of the acts in his charge sheet. He was charged with accompanying his activist brother, Ali Qureris, on a motorcycle ride to a police station in the eastern Saudi city of Awamiya, where Ali allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at the facility.
In 2019, at age 18, Qureiris was convicted and sentenced to prison, though the Saudi government did not announce the charge or charges on which he was convicted. A source familiar with the matter told CNN at the time that he was officially spared the death penalty.
CNN has reached out to the Saudi government for comment.
A source familiar with the matter told CNN in 2019 that Qureiris was set to be released in 2022.
International pressure started mounting on the kingdom and multiple international rights groups condemned his detention after CNN reported on Qureiris’ case. In 2019, the Austrian parliament voted to close a Saudi-backed center for interfaith dialogue, in protest against the detention of Qureiris.