The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has warned Saudi authorities against the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Lebanese movement described the sentence handed down to the cleric as unjust and politically motivated.
“This unjust sentence is political par excellence, and reflects the repressive policy adopted by Saudi authorities against a wide segment of citizens. They cannot tolerate free expression and the peaceful struggle of this oppressed segment to achieve their legitimate demands,” the statement read.
Hezbollah also called on Saudi officials to drop the case against Nimr and listen to the legitimate demands of the citizens seeking to obtain the minimum of their rights as recognized by divine religions and the international law.
The Lebanese resistance movement further urged international rights groups to press Riyadh not to kill the top Shia scholar.
On Wednesday, Nimr was sentenced to death at the Specialized Criminal Court in the Saudi capital Riyadh. In reaction to the sentence, people took to streets in the city of Qatif in Eastern Province to condemn the move.
Amnesty International has called the death sentence “appalling,” saying the verdict should be quashed.
Meanwhile, a group of protesters have staged a rally in Bahrain to express solidarity with the dissident Shia Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia. The protesters denounced the Saudi government for issuing Nimr’s death sentence.
Nimr has been given the death sentence on charges of disturbing the kingdom’s security and making anti-government speeches.
He is the Imam of al-Awamiyya mosque in Qatif and has spent most of his two-year detention in solitary confinement at the al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh, according to Amnesty International.