Saudi Arabia executes popular cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr - Leystradamus.Com.Ng


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Saudi Arabia executes popular cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr

Saudi Arabia has announced it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaeda detainees and a prominent Shia cleric who rallied protests against the government.

The execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr is expected to deepen discontent among Saudi Arabia's Shia minority and heighten sectarian tensions across the region.

Meanwhile, the execution of al-Qaeda militants convicted over deadly bombings and shootings in Saudi Arabia raised concerns over revenge attacks. The extremist group's branch in Yemen, known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, threatened violence against Saudi.
They vowed to hit back at the country's security forces if they carried out executions of their members.

Saudi Arabia's top cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh said the executions were carried out in line with Islamic law and the need to safeguard the kingdom's security. He described the executions as a "mercy to the prisoners" because it would save them from committing more evil acts and prevent chaos.
Influential figures condemn execution
Respected Shia figures and groups across the region were swift to condemn al-Nimr's execution, with Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran describing it as "irresponsible."

In Lebanon, a top Shia cleric condemned al-Nimr's execution, describing it as "a grave mistake that could have been avoided with a royal amnesty that would have helped reduce sectarian tensions in the region."

157 executions in 2015
Al-Nimr's brother told the AP by telephone that the executions came as a "big shock" because "we thought the authorities could adopt a political approach to settle matters without bloodshed."

Mohammed's son Ali, the cleric's nephew, is also facing execution, but his name was not among the list.

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.

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