Press Release

Update on Reported Imminent Beheading of Mujaba’a al-Sweikat

For Release: 

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Janet Bass

DETROIT—Statement by American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten and AFT Michigan President David Hecker updating reported imminent beheading of Mujtaba’s al-Sweikat:

“Yesterday, 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 college, 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.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.