Manama: The family of a Saudi man believed to have been executed in Iraq on charges of terrorism said that they last saw him in 2005 when he left home ostensibly to apply for a job in a city across the country.

Baghdad said that 21 people accused of terrorism were executed on Tuesday and that three of the executed were women, the justice ministry said.

Mazen Mohammad Nashi Al Masawi is said to be among those executed by the Iraqis, but no formal statement has reached the family.

“We never suspected anything about Mazen heading to Iraq,” Mohammad, the father, said. “He was a student at the Business and Management College at the King Abdul Aziz University and spent most of his free time at home. He looked normal and behaved normally and he did not exhibit any sign or indication of extremism or fanaticism,” he said, quoted by local daily Okaz on Wednesday.

The father said that his son left Jeddah in Western Saudi Arabia near the end of 2005, right after Eid Al Fitr, claiming that he was going to Madinah.

“When he was there, he kept in touch with. However, after 20 days, one of his friends called me to inform me that Mazen went to Dammam — on the western coast of the country — to apply for a job. When I asked why he did not call me directly, he replied that Mazen had asked him to get in touch with me.”

One month later, the father got an international call on his mobile.

“The caller spoke with an Iraqi accent and told me that Mazen was in Iraq and that he sent his best regards. I stoically listened and left the matter in God’s hands. I then informed the interior ministry about my son being in Iraq and the phone call,” he told the daily.

The father said that for the next ten months, he received written missives from Mazen and his friends and that he heard news about him intermittently.

From the news, he pieced his son’s life in Iraq and learned that he got married and had two children.

“Then, there was nothing from or about Mazen and one day his brother-in-law told us that the Iraqi authorities arrested him on charges of terrorism,” he said.

On Tuesday, he was told that Mazen had been executed.

“The news struck our family as a bolt. His mother and I had shared for five years our grief about him leaving Saudi Arabia for Iraq. We were not satisfied at all,” he said.

Hashim, one of Mazen’s brothers, said that they were told in 2006 that he had died in Iraq.

“We condoled ourselves, but it was limited to our relatives,” he said. “But in 2007, someone informed us that Mazen was held in an Iraqi prison. The information rekindled our hope then. He later was released and we urged him to come home, but he never made it,” Hashim said.