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Saudi Arabia Executes Top Shia Cleric Nimr Al Nimr Under “Terrorism” Charges

Saudi Arabia today announced it had executed top Shia cleric Shaikh Nemer Al Nemer under "terrorism" charges. Photo credit: Talkhandak.com (CC BY 4.0)

Saudi Arabia today announced it had executed top Shia cleric Shaikh Nemer Al Nemer under “terrorism” charges. Photo credit: Talkhandak.com (CC BY 4.0)

Saudi Arabia announced today it had executed 47 people under “terrorism” charges, including top shia cleric Nimr Al Nimr who was seen as a leader in anti-government protests that took place in the Eastern province of the absolute monarchy at the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring.

In a series of tweets, Saudi journalist Ahmed Al Omran quotes the Saudi state news agency saying:

In addition to Nimr, who had called for peaceful protests against the Saudi regime, Saudi Arabia executed Al Qaeda members, who belong to an ultra-fanatic branch of Sunni Islam. Al Omran tweets:

This “lumping” of executions did not pass undetected on social media. David Kenner explains:

The mass executions were carried out in 12 different areas across Saudi Arabia:

And they are backed by the Saudi religious institutions:

Nimr, from the Awamiya area, in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia caught the Saudi regime's wrath after giving sermons calling for reforms in the conservative kingdom where women are not even allowed to drive cars and for “taking the lead” in anti-government protests in 2011-2012. In July 2012, he was arrested by police after being shot in the leg and in October 2014 sentenced to death for “disobeying the ruler” among other charges.

On Twitter, netizens expressed anger at Nimr's execution.

American-Mauritanian Nasser Weddady notes:

He adds to his 37K followers on Twitter saying:

Rawya Rageh tells her 83.3K followers Nimr's execution will further escalate tensions in the region:

Iran reacted to Nimr's execution by accusing Saudi Arabia of “support[ing] terrorists and takfiri (radical Sunni) extremists, while executing and suppressing critics inside the country.”

Nimr's execution is expected to further fuel dissidence in the region with calls for demonstrations going out. Photographs shared on Twitter show armoured vehicles moving into Shia areas in the Eastern province to quell any possible rallies:

And in nearby restive Bahrain, where anti-government protests have been continuing since February 14, 2011, protesters took to the streets of several villages after the news was announced.

Protests in several areas in Bahrain to condemn the execution of martyr Nimr Al Nimr.

 

Bahrain's villages rise in anger after the execution of Nimr Al Nimr

Last year (2015), Saudi Arabia executed a total of 158 people, or an average of one person every two days, the highest recorded number since 1995.

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