Saudi court sentences two anti-regime protesters to death
A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced two Shia activists to death and another one to 25 years in prison for involvement in anti-regime protests in the country's Eastern Province.
On Monday, the court in the city of Jeddah convicted the two defendants of attacking security forces during a protest in 2012.
One of the two was also found guilty of leading and inciting protests and writing anti-regime graffiti on walls. The verdicts are subject to appeal within 30 days.
Last month, the same court issued the first death sentence to a defendant involved in protests, a day before sentencing another protester to death.
Saudi Arabia is notorious for showing what rights advocates describe as zero-tolerance toward dissent.
Since February 2011, protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Saudi Arabia, mainly in Qatif and Awamiyah in the Eastern Province, to call for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression, and an end to widespread discrimination against Shias.
Activists say there are over 40,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia, many of them being held without trial or charges.
Amnesty International and several other rights groups have frequently called on the Saudi authorities to stop using excessive force against pro-democracy protesters.
Last October, Amnesty censured Saudi authorities for not addressing the “dire human rights situation” in the kingdom.
The group also handed in a paper to the United Nations, which included information regarding a “new wave of repression against civil society, which has taken place over the last two years.”