Velayati Urges Muslim Scholars to Condemn Sheikh Nimr’s Death Penalty
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – International Adviser to Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ali Akbar Velayati said Saudi Arabia’s move to uphold the death sentence handed to prominent Shiite cleric Ayatollah Nimr Baqir al-Nimr should be condemned by all Muslim scholars.
In a Tuesday meeting with a group of Sunni and Shiite Muslim clerics in Lebanon, Velayati, who is on an official visit to the Arab country, rapped Saudi Arabia’s move to issue “unfair and illogical” verdicts against Muslim scholars and clerics.
The death sentence issued for Sheikh Nimr is condemned, Velayati stressed, urging the Saudi regime to free the prominent cleric.
He also called on Muslim scholars to denounce the verdict that was upheld a couple of months ago by a Saudi appeals court.
Sheikh Nimr was detained in July 2012 following demonstrations that erupted in Qatif region. He is accused of delivering anti-regime speeches and defending political prisoners.
His arrest sparked widespread protests in the Arab country, leaving several people dead.
In October 2014, Sheikh Nimr’s family reported that a Saudi judge has found him guilty of “sedition” and sentenced him to death.
A Saudi appeals court in October 2015 upheld the death sentence, referring his case to King Salman’s office.
Activists say there are over 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
International human rights organizations have criticized Riyadh for failing to address the rights situation in the kingdom. They say Saudi Arabia has persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly.