Execution of Sheikh Nimr Politically-Motivated, Unfair: Amnesty
Human rights group Amnesty International said Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 other people was “politicized on the one hand and grossly unfair”.
“What the Saudi Arabian authorities have said so far indicates they regard these executions as taken to preserve security. But the execution of Sheikh Nimr suggests they are using execution to settle political scores,” Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther told AFP late on Saturday.
He added that the kingdom was using “the guise of counter-terrorism” to clamp down on dissent after the death sentences were carried out on Nimr, Shiite activists and Sunnis reportedly accused of involvement in al-Qaeda attacks.
“Those trials including the trial of Shiekh Nimr al Nimr were politicized on the one hand and grossly unfair, because the international standards for fair trial were grossly flouted,” Luther said.
“What is going on is an attempt to silence criticism of Saudi Arabia particularly among the Shiite activist community.
Saudi Arabia executed 47 prisoners on Saturday, including Sheikh Nimr, the Arab country’s interior ministry said in a statement.
Among them were four Shiite Muslims accused of anti-government protests in recent years.
The executions took place in 12 cities in Saudi Arabia, four prisons using firing squads and the others beheading. The bodies were then hanged from gibbets in the most severe form of punishment available in the kingdom’s law
Sheikh Nimr was detained in July 2012 on charges of delivering anti-regime speeches and defending political prisoners.