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 Updated: May 17, 2015

Worldwide protests to support Ayat al-Nimr

By: Abdeleli

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 demonstrations.

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 Muslim community.”

Protests also held in UK, Bahrain, India, and Iraq and Pakistan.


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