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SAUDI ARABIA: Three-year-old dies after security forces open fire at Awamiya family

 

Sajaad in hospital

A three-year-old child has died today, two months after Saudi Arabia security forces allegedly shot him on the streets of Awamiya, a village in the kingdom’s eastern province besieged by the Saudi military since May.

Sajaad Mohamed Abu Abdallah spent two months in harrowing pain after security forces shot him in the family’s car late in the afternoon on 12 June, during the holy month of Ramadan. Witnesses state there were no clashes in the area, when an armoured vehicle shot live ammunition at the car as it drove by the Awamiya Police Station. The station oversees a major road in the besieged neighbourhood in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province.

The bullet entered the car through the left rear door, where Sajaad was sat. He was taken to hospital with gun wounds in his waist and right hand. The bullet penetrated his waist and exited his body.  Video footage of Sajaad in hospital shows him in extreme pain. Sajaad’s passing away today in Dammam Maternity and Children’s Hospital was reported on social media today by verified and reliable accounts.

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) condemn the unlawful killing of Sajaad and call for an independent and impartial investigation into the circumstances of his shooting.

Sophie Baggott, Policy and Research Associate, BIRD: “The tragic death of this young child means an investigation into these shootings is now more urgent than ever. The Saudi security forces’ haphazard firing of live ammunition at Awamiya’s civilians in June can no longer be an ignored incident. Saudi Arabia’s failure to even acknowledge the fatal shooting of civilians shows contempt for the victims and provides the security forces with impunity.”

Ali Adubisi, Director of ESOHR: “There is a clear absence of international scrutiny on Saudi Arabia’s unprecedented violent military operations in Awamiya. A United Nations probe is urgently needed.”

 

Background:

Saudi security forces wounded over thirty people, including women and children, on 12 June when they shot directly at civilian targets in Awamiya. Live ammunition fired indiscriminately by security forces and armoured vehicles near the police station hit pedestrians and cars, said eyewitnesses and local sources who spoke to the ESOHR.

Local residents believed the open targeting of civilians was a retaliation to the killing of Major Tariq bin Abdullatif Al-A’laqi by an explosive device at 11.30 PM the previous night, Sunday 11 June. The Saudi Ministry of Interior announced Major Al-A’laqi’s death early on the morning of Monday 12 June, with reports of shootings in Awamiya began at 1.10 AM that day.

Among those injured from bullets shot from the police station was three-year-old Sajaad Mohamed Abu Abdallah.

Major al-A’laqi is thought to have been leading the security campaign that the town has endured since 10 May, when Saudi Arabia’s military was deployed on a supposed mission to maintain order in the neighbourhood of Al-Masoura in Qatif Governorate. Local activists have called the security deployment a siege.

In May, three UN experts condemned the use of force and demolitions in Al-Masoura. They demanded that the Saudi authorities “immediately stop this demolition of cultural heritage and historic homes, and restore the human rights of their citizens.” A side-by-side comparison of satellite imagesshared on social media show the extent of the destruction in Al-Masoura.

Sajaad in hospital
Sajaad in hospital, his wounds visible
Sajaad’s wound in his right hand
Car seat where Sajaad was shot, a lollipop inches from the bloodstains
The bullet that shot Sajaad
The bullet’s entry hole through the left side of the car
Map of Awamiya, marking the Police Station
Comparison image showing destruction in Al-Masoura neighbourood, just south of the police station

 

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