Three Saudi tribesmen sentenced to death for refusing to be evicted

Three tribesmen are sentenced to death for refusing to leave their homes to make way for Saudi Arabia’s new £450billion mega-city Neom, says human rights charity

  • Alqst said Shadli, Atallah and Ibrahim al-Howeiti have been sentenced to death
  • The three men of the Howeitat tribe had refused to be evicted from their home
  • Residents of the Tabuk province have been forcibly ejected for mega-city Neom 
  • Shadli’s brother Abdul was shot dead in April 2020 for protesting the evictions 

Three men of the Howeitat tribe have been ‘sentenced to death for refusing to leave their homes’ to make way for the new £450billion mega-city Neom.

Shadli, Atallah and Ibrahim al-Howeiti are members of a tribe forcibly ejected to make way for the project.

The three men were arrested in 2020 for opposing the eviction and Saudi Arabia’s Specialised Criminal Court handed them death sentences on October 2, according to UK-based rights group Alqst.

In a tweet the rights group said: ‘The family members were detained in 2020 for opposing eviction to make way for #Neom. 

‘We condemn the sentences and call for their release.’

Shadli’s brother Abdul Rahim was a 43-year-old shot dead by Saudi forces in April 2020 after protesting the displacement of Tabuk province residents, Middle East Eye reported.

Three men were arrested in 2020 for opposing eviction and Saudi Arabia’s Specialised Criminal Court handed them death sentences on October 2, according to UK-based rights group Alqst

Shadli, Attalah and Ibrahim al-Howeiti are members of a tribe forcibly ejected to make way for the new £450billion mega-city Neom

Abdul regularly shared videos of his protests on YouTube. 

This comes as members of the Howeitat tribe claim the campaign to evict them from their land for the mega-city – which will be the site of the 2029 Asian Winter Games – had escalated. 

Abdulilah and Abdullah Dukhail – family members of the three men – were given 50-year prison terms and 50-year travel bans for supporting their relatives’ stance.

Mother-of-two and Leeds University student Salma al-Shehab and mother-of-five Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani were also handed long prison terms for tweets criticising the Saudi Arabian government.

Salma was sentenced to 34 years in prison while Nourah received a sentence of 45 years. 

Alqst said that writer, translator and computer programmer Osama Khaled received a 32-year prison sentence over ‘allegations relating to the right of free speech’.

The proposed industrial district, called Oxagon, is billed as being ‘a comprehensive cognitive city’ that will make use of robots and AI and act as an industrial port hub for the country’s newest region in the northwest – Neom. 

Neom, the flagship project of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is a planned city-state that would cover 10,000 square miles of Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk province, near its borders with Jordan and Egypt.

Neom is a combination of the Greek word neos, or ‘new,’ and mustaqbal, Arabic for ‘future.’

It’s part of an ambitious plan to wean Saudi Arabia off oil dependency and transform the country into a tech hub like Silicon Valley, while also incorporating towns, research centres, education zones, and tourist attractions.

But constructors are yet to reveal how much the project will cost or how Oxagon will float.

Plans for Neom show it will be 33 times the size of New York City and will have a ‘smart’ city at its centre, also called Neom

Neom, the flagship project of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is a planned city-state that would cover 10,000 square miles of Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk province, near its borders with Jordan and Egypt

The project is being funded by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, which the Crown Prince is the chairman for.

‘Neom is an accelerator of human progress and a vision of what a new future might look like,’ according to a release from January 2021.

‘It will be a destination and a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for exceptional livability, creating thriving businesses, and reinventing environmental conservation.’

The region’s stark landscape would be transformed by cloud-seeding machines, the world’s largest coral garden, glow-in-the-dark sand, and a giant artificial moon that lights up nightly. 

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