Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib criticizes Saudi ruler Mohammad Bin Salman
Salwan Georges/The Washington Post/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Rashida Tlaib vociferously attacked Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Tuesday night, calling him out for torturing and executing children.
Tlaib, D-Mich., was responding to a news story about the execution of Mujtaba al-Sweikat, who was slated to attend Western Michigan University. He was arrested for taking part in pro-Democracy rallies as a 17-year-old in 2012, according to the Detroit Free Press.
She wrote, “Saudi Arabia ruler MBS tortures & executes children. Already this year, he has killed 100 people. At least 3 today were arrested as teenagers & tortured into false confessions. He killed them for attending protests!”
Tlaib became one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress last November, along with Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Thirty-seven people were executed by beheading on Tuesday, accused of alleged terrorism-related crimes. Amnesty International said the convictions were obtained under “sham trials that violated international fair trial standards, which relied on confessions extracted through torture.”
“Today’s mass execution is a chilling demonstration of the Saudi Arabian authorities’ callous disregard for human life,” Lynn Maalouf, Middle East research director at Amnesty International, said in a statement. “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 Shia minority.”
Most of those killed were Shiite men, according to Amnesty International. The majority of Muslims in Saudi Arabia are Sunnis, and Shias have been repressed for years.
Tlaib and Omar have been the target of criticism due to their relationship with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR grew out of the Islamic Association for Palestine, which was created by Hamas, a terrorist group as designated by the U.S. government, according to the nonprofit Influence Watch. Both women have spoken at CAIR events.
Omar has said she’s gotten regular death threats since Trump criticized her for referring to the Sept. 11 attacks as “some people did something.”
Saudi Arabia has executed 104 people this year, according to Amnesty International, and is on pace to quickly surpass last year’s total of 149.
Tlaib has long called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, who has a close relationship with the crown prince. Trump has defended the regime in the wake of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year even as both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have called it obvious that bin Salman ordered the killing.
The president — and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — has repeatedly said there is no “direct evidence” between the killing and the crown prince. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, reportedly has a close relationship with bin Salman.
The Senate unanimously passed a resolution last year saying bin Salman was “responsible” for Khashoggi’s killing.
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