Saudi Arabia Executes Shiite Cleric Nimr al-Nimr: Interior Ministry
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Saudi Arabia executed 47 prisoners on Saturday, including prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the Arab country’s interior ministry said in a statement.
The cleric’s name was among a list of the 47 carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It cited the interior ministry for the information. Saudi state television also reported the executions.
Sheikh Nimr was detained in July 2012 on charges of delivering anti-regime speeches and defending political prisoners.
His arrest sparked widespread protests in the Arab country, leaving several people dead.
In 2014, a Saudi judge found him guilty of “sedition” and sentenced him to death.
In October 2015, a Saudi appeals court upheld the death sentence, referring his case to King Salman’s office.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, among many others, had called on Riyadh to halt the execution of Sheikh Nimr.
Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, the cleric’s nephew, has also been sentenced to death over his alleged role in anti-regime protests in 2012, when he was 17 years old.
International human rights organizations have criticized Saudi Arabia 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.
Saudi Arabia carried out at least 157 executions in 2015, with beheadings reaching their highest level in the kingdom in two decades, according to several advocacy groups that monitor the death penalty worldwide.