The execution of the Shia cleric sheikh Nimr al-Nimr Saudi Arabia caused uproar worldwide, with human rights organizations and governments strongly condemning the kingdom. Now, there is increased fear that Saudi Arabia may carry out the death penalty of Ali al-Nimr, the sheikh’s nephew.
Ali al-Nimr was 17 when he was arrested for his role in pro-democracy protests, and sentenced to beheading and crucifixion. He was charged with a variety of offences in a closed trial, including possession of firearms and encouraging pro-democracy rallies.
Amnesty International reported over the weekend that al-Nimr’s family are worried he may be executed any day. Local media reports suggest that Saudi Arabia is preparing to execute four more prisoners, leading to speculation that al-Nimr may be among them.
It is thought that those set to be executed will be those who were spared execution in January, when 47—including sheikh al-Nimr—were killed. A local news article wrote that the upcoming executions will complete the wave of punishments handed out against those convicted of “terrorism” offences.
Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher, who were also arrested as teens on similar charges, may also be executed.
“If these executions go ahead, Saudi Arabia will demonstrate its utter disdain for international law, which prohibits executions of people for crimes committed under the age of 18. Condemning these young men to death despite grave flaws in their trials and credible allegations that their ‘confessions’ were extracted under torture, would be a sickening example of the authorities’ disregard for human life,” said James Lynch of Amnesty International.
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