Statement by American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten and AFT Michigan President David Hecker updating reported imminent beheading of Mujtaba’s al-Sweikat:
“Recently, the AFT and AFT Michigan learned that Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat, who was detained at King Fahd Airport in 2012 on his way to the United States to attend Western Michigan University, was moved from detention in Dammam to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where executions by beheading customarily take place. Mujtaba’a and others were arrested for attending a peaceful, anti-government protest, for which they were sentenced to death, a despicable violation of international law and basic humanity.
“The AFT and AFT Michigan statement released last night indicated that Mujtaba’a was on his way to study at the University of Michigan. However, after an extensive search, the university did not find any record of Mujtaba’a applying to any of the campuses of the University of Michigan. According to documents we have now received, his acceptance was to Western Michigan University. We continue to urge President Trump to demand that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman halt the atrocity of executing Mujtaba’a and the 13 others.
“Upon learning of this situation yesterday, the University of Michigan responded immediately, doing whatever it could to try and identify a link with the university to assist all who are working to save Mujtaba’a’s life, as well as the others.
“As of this hour, we do not have an update concerning Mujtaba’a’s status.”
Below are statements of two AFT leaders:
AFT President Randi Weingarten:
“Saudi Arabia’s threat to behead its own citizens for attending an anti-government protest is an unthinkable and despicable violation of international law and basic humanity. This group includes two youths — one of whom, Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat, was at the airport coming to the United States to attend college when he was arrested — a man with disabilities, and 11 other people. People must have a right to speak and associate freely. Should these executions occur, Saudi Arabia should be considered a pariah nation by the world. We implore President Trump, as the standard-bearer for our great nation, to do everything in his power to stop the atrocities that may otherwise take place in Saudi Arabia.”
AFT Michigan President David Hecker:
“At this hour, we understand that Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat was a student on his way to the United States to attend the University of Michigan when he was arrested without charges, purportedly for attending a political rally. President Trump displayed a close relationship with Saudi leaders during his recent trip to the kingdom. I urge him to use that relationship to plead with the new Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to halt the executions.”