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Saudi Teenager Spared From Execution

In this Jan. 4, 2016 file photo, an Iranian woman holds up a poster showing Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent opposition Saudi Shiite cleric who was executed by Saudi Arabia, in Tehran, Iran.

A Saudi teenager who had been facing a possible death penalty for taking part in Shiite-led protests as a child will not be executed.

Murtaja Qureiris, who was 13 when he was arrested in 2014, will instead spend time in prison.

A Saudi court on Sunday sentenced Qureiris to 12 years in prison which includes time served and the last 4 years on probation. That means he could be released by 2022.

The Saudi official said Qureiris had manufactured and used Molotov cocktails in a series of attacks against police and a pharmacy in which he also used guns, after being recruited by a "terrorist" cell.

Saudi Arabia has been under intense criticism by human rights groups since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October as well as the detention of women's rights activists who are still on trial.

In April, the kingdom executed 37 men, most of whom were Shiite. Among those executed was a Shiite boy arrested at age 16, according to Amnesty International. The rights group deemed the trial of some of those executed as "grossly unfair.''

Amnesty International reacted to Qureiris's news on Twitter Sunday. "Much relief to learn that Saudi authorities confirm that #MurtajaQureiris will NOT be sentenced to death. #EndDeathPenalty #SaudiArabia."