US protesters hold mock beheading at White House

Activist leader urges release of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia

US protesters hold mock beheading at White House

World Bulletin / News Desk

Protesters staged a beheading in front of the White House on Wednesday to urge the release of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia as President Barack Obama kicks off a two-day visit to the Kingdom.

“We are trying to save the lives of three young peaceful activists who have been sentenced to death,” said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war activist group Code Pink.

Ali al-Nimr, Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher are being held in solitary confinement in Saudi Arabia’s al-Hair prison, according to Amnesty International.

The trio of Shia activists was arrested in 2012 when they were minors and were sentenced to death two years later.

“President Obama should speak out on their behalf -- they are peaceful protesters, nobody should be sentenced to death for peaceful protesting against an oppressive monarchy,” Benjamin said, while calling urging Obama to suspend arms sales to the Kingdom as it continues an air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The American president’s visit is already likely to be tense.

Obama is under pressure to declassify 28 pages of a report on the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that allegedly implicates members of the Saudi government in establishing a financial network for the hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.

That’s compounded by pending legislation that would allow Americans to sue foreign governments for their roles in terror attacks that killed U.S. citizens.

Saudi Arabia has reportedly threatened to sell $750 billion worth of U.S. treasuries if the legislation is signed into law, but the White House has said Obama would not sign it in its current form.

And a U.S.-led deal brokered by world powers and Iran has vexed the Kingdom, that believes the agreement will embolden its regional rival.

Obama flew to Riyadh on Wednesday. He will meet with King Salman and participate in a meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council leaders on Thursday.

He will be joined at the summit by Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Nisan 2016, 09:16