Report: Student headed to WMU could be executed in Saudi Arabia

Posted at 11:09 AM, Jul 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-17 11:09:36-04

DETROIT, Mich. – A student in Saudi Arabia who had been accepted to study at Western Michigan University may be executed by beheading.

Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat was arrested in 2012 at the airport as he was heading to the United States for college, according to a statement from the American Federation of Teachers on Sunday. He and others were arrested for attending an anti-government protest.  He and the others were sentenced to death.

According to the AFT, al-Sweikat was moved from detention in Damman to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which is where executions by beheading take place.

Monday morning, Western Michigan University told FOX 17 that they were stunned to learn of al-Sweikat’s situation and that they did not know why he didn’t report to campus.  The school is joining the AFT in urging national leaders to ask the Saudi government for compassion:

We were stunned to learn, for the first time today, of this situation. It is not unusual for an admitted student to opt out of enrolling at the last minute, so we had no idea there was such a troubling reason behind this student’s failure to come to campus.

The AFT information makes it clear that the critical national political figures with influence in such a situation are informed. We join the AFT in urging them to use that influence to ask the Saudi government to exhibit compassion.

The AFT says they are urging President Trump to contact the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to stop the execution.