Worldwide protests to support Ayat al-Nimr
QATIF, Saudi Arabia: Protests continued in eastern region of Saudi
Arabia to show solidarity with Ayatullah al-Nimr. Senior Shiite cleric
was to be executed on May 14 according to reports but it appears to
have been postponed.
The Saudis staged a rally in the Qatif region of Eastern Province for
the third night in a row to, calling on authorities to overturn the
death sentence handed to prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
The demonstrators carried placards and shouted slogans, urging the
ruling Al Saud regime to release the respected cleric, who was
sentenced to death last year.
The protest was held as calls were growing worldwide for the release
of Nimr, who has been in jail for more than three years.
Nimr was attacked and arrested in Qatif in July 2012 on charges of
disturbing the country’s security, delivering anti-government
speeches, and defending political prisoners.
There have been numerous demonstrations in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern
Province since 2011, with protesters calling for political reform and
an end to widespread discrimination. A number of people have been
killed and many have been injured or arrested during the
International human rights organizations have criticized Saudi Arabia
for failing to address the rights situation.
On May 1, Amnesty International criticized Saudi Arabia for its grim
human rights record, arguing that widespread violations continue
unabated in the oil-rich country even though a new ruler, King Salman
bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has taken the helm of the absolute monarchy.
Al-Nimr was sentenced to death in October 2014 for "disobeying the
ruler, inciting sectarian strife, and encouraging, leading, and
participating in demonstrations." Said Boumedouha, who is deputy
director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North African
programme said “the death sentence against Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr
is part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all
dissent, including those defending the rights of the Kingdom’s Shiite
Protests also held in UK, Bahrain, India, and Iraq and Pakistan.
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