Saudi protesters denounce death sentence against Sheikh Nimr
By: Web Desk
AL-AWAMIYAH, Saudi Arabia: People have taken to the streets in
Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province to denounce a death sentence by the
country’s top court against the prominent Shia cleric, Ayatullah
Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr.
The protesters marched down the streets of the town of Awamiyah in
the Qatif region on Thursday, condemning the decision by the Saudi
The demonstrators pledged to continue their campaign until the death
verdict is overturned.
On October 25, the Saudi court upheld a death sentence issued
against the cleric last year. The execution warrant will be sent to
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to be approved and then
The execution of the Shia cleric can be carried out by the Interior
Ministry without any prior warning if the Saudi king signs the
Sheikh Nimr was attacked and arrested in Qatif in July 2012, and has
been charged with undermining the kingdom’s security, making
anti-government speeches, and defending political prisoners. He has
denied the accusations.
In a Monday letter to United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, the Islamic Human Rights
Commission called for exerting pressure on Riyadh to revoke the
death sentence and release the cleric immediately.
Nimr “was detained on trumped up charges of apostasy and terrorism
after leading anti-government protests in the country. He has been
severely tortured in detention,” the letter read.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has also called on Saudi Arabia to
halt Nimr’s execution.Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York on
Wednesday, Ban’s spokesmen, Stephane Dujarric, said that during a
phone call, the UN chief has asked King Salman to overturn the death
sentence against the Shia cleric.
Peaceful demonstrations erupted in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province
in February 2011, with protesters demanding reforms, freedom of
expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to
widespread discrimination against the people of the oil-rich region.
Several people have been killed and many others injured or arrested
during the rallies.
International rights bodies, including Amnesty International, have
criticized Saudi Arabia for its grim human rights record.
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