LANSING — In 2012, Mujtaba Al-Sweikat, then 17, attended a pro-democracy rally in Saudi Arabia. The U.S. government has now learned that in the weeks leading up to his departure for the U.S., where he was to attend Western Michigan University, Al-Sweikat was arrested for his involvement in the rally and is now at risk of being beheaded by the Saudi government along with 13 other young men, all of them accused of protest-related offenses. In response, state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) issued the following statement:

“I am absolutely horrified to hear of what Mujtaba Al-Sweikat and 13 other men are now facing, and I am aggressively urging the U.S. President and our federal government to intervene immediately to stop these executions and ensure the death sentences are commuted. Any government that stands idly by while a young man loses his life in such a barbaric and arcane way, for no real crime, is complicit in his death. In this age of heightened partisanship, there is often a struggle for those in both parties to find common ground with each other. Yet if we’re going to, I cannot imagine a more fitting place than in working to stop the unfair execution of someone who was a child when they were detained. Mujtaba has a bright future ahead of him, and if ever there was a time for the President to demonstrate the democratic ideals and freedoms he spoke so highly of on the campaign trail, it would be when someone’s life is at stake for simply attending a pro-democracy rally. I will be fighting every day to see that this boy and all 13 others are saved, and I urge the President and all my colleagues to join me.”