The Anonymous hacktivist group has called out Saudi Arabia for its human rights record, and vowed to target them in retaliation for the planned execution of teenager Ali Mohammed al-Nimr.
The alleged juvenile offender is reportedly set to be beheaded and crucified for his crimes, which has caused international outcry and UN human rights experts said the nation’s actions could be in breach of the law.
Al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 after he apparently took part Arab Spring protests when he was just 16 or 17-years-old, and he’s now been now sentenced to death on charges of terrorism.
In a series of messages posted to YouTube and Twitter, activists claiming to represent Anonymous said a host of Saudi government websites had been taken offline for hours at a time in response to the country’s actions.
In their statements, activists warned:
An innocent young teenage boy has been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia and we will not stand by and watch. Hundreds of innocent people die each year because of the Saudi Arabian government and they will now be punished for their actions.
Campaigners also claim he was forced to sign a confession, which has formed the basis of the case against him. Naturally, the sentence was appealed but the appeal hearing was held in secret and apparently dismissed. Now, with all legal avenues exhausted, Ali could be crucified at any moment.
Thirteen judges have already approved the death sentence of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, meaning only King Salman has to approve it. We cannot and will not allow this to happen. We hope you listen to us this time and release the young man. You will be treated as a virus and we are the cure.
Some of the websites that appear to have been knocked offline included the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Civil Service, the General Administration of Education, PSATRI (Saudi Arabia’s technological centre for its military and security sectors), and Saudi Airlines, although most of the sites are now back online.
A full list of targeted websites has been published on Paste bin.
The hacktivists also criticised the UK for not standing up for al-Nimr and not doing more to pressure the nation’s decision. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also called on Prime Minister David Cameron to do more to intervene in al-Nimr’s case and “prevent a grave injustice”.
The UK Foreign Office has said it will raise al-Nimr’s case “urgently” with the Saudi authorities.