3 men face death sentence for refusing to make way for ‘insane’ Saudi scifi city

Three tribesmen in Saudi Arabia have been given the death sentence after refusing to leave their homes to make way for an 'insane' sci-fi megacity.

The mega city project, called Neom, will be 75-miles long and is set to cost $1trn (£830bn). But both human rights and environmental campaigners have criticised its construction since it was first announced—and now it's clear why.

Ataullah, Ibrahim and Shadli al-Howeiti were handed the death sentence last week after being jailed in 2020 for complaining about the project and opposing their eviction.

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According to a relative of the men, the three reportedly took part in a hunger strike in prison before being handed the death penalty.

Alya Abutayah al-Howeiti, their relative, told the Telegraph: "For three months they did a hunger strike in the prison and the government tried to push them to get their passwords for Twitter, but they refused, so that led to a death sentence without any evidence of them. Just to wipe the Al-Howeitat tribe from Neom."

The Neom project is set to be completed by 2030, and will apparently feature flying cars, a ski resort, and tons of AI-powered robots to serve residents.

Nicknamed the 'Mirror Line', the city will have an entirely mirror-covered exterior and feature 1,600-foot-tall buildings that run alongside one another. Residents will be able to pay a subscription to get three meals a day.

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The death sentence handed to the tribesmen is a brutal reminder of the damaging consequences that billion-dollar vanity projects such as this have on local residents. Previous eviction efforts have led to gunfights, including to another member of the Bedouin al-Howeiti tribe being shot dead by authorities in 2020.

The project has also been criticised for its impact on migratory species, including birds, who will be unable to follow their traditional routes due to the city.

The Telegraph said it was unable to independently verify the sentence and that Saudi authorities did not offer a comment when requested.


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