Friday, November 27, 2015


The family of a Shiite activist sentenced to death after protesting in Saudi Arabia has voiced concerns for his fate as a rights group warned of his imminent execution.

Image result for mass execution in SaudiThe sentence against Ali al-Nimr, only 17 when he was arrested in February 2012, has drawn international condemnation over his young age and allegations he was tortured. Ali al-Nimr’s uncle told AFP on Friday his family fears “the government is serious, very serious” about carrying out the sentence. Jaffar al-Nimr said that his nephew reported that he had undergone a medical check when his family last spoke to him two weeks ago.

Amnesty International warned Thursday that Ali al-Nimr was among more than 50 people, including other Shiite activists, at increased risk of soon being put to death in a single day. His mother and the mothers of other detainees implored King Salman for clemency after learning of preparations possibly associated with impending executions, the London-based rights group said.

 Ali al-Nimr’s case has provoked a call for clemency from France, while the United States expressed “deep concern”. Activists say Ali al-Nimr is one of three Shiite protesters who were minors at the time of their arrest and have been sentenced to death.

They have exhausted all appeals. “International law prohibits the use of the death penalty against anyone under the age of 18,” Amnesty said on Thursday. It added that there were “credible allegations” the three youths had been tortured.

 Their fate rests with King Salman who, activists say, must give final approval before death sentences are carried out. The case of Jaffar al-Nimr’s brother, Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, also rests with Salman after the Supreme Court last month upheld his death sentence for sedition.

 “They are peaceful people,” Jaffar al-Nimr said. “They are not criminals.” The sheikh was a driving force behind protests that erupted in 2011 in eastern Saudi Arabia, where most of the country’s estimated two million Shiites live.

The protests developed into a call for equality in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, where many Shiites have complained of marginalisation. Amnesty said Nimr al-Nimr was among six Shiite activists at imminent risk of execution who were “clearly convicted in unfair trials.” The rights group earlier this month reported that a surge in executions in Saudi Arabia had pushed to 151 the number of people put to death this year.

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