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Saudi Arabia just executed a prominent Shia cleric and 46 others for terrorism

Saudi Arabia confirmed today that it executed 47 people after all were convicted of terrorism offences.

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry confirmed in a press release read out on state TV, as cited by Reuters, AFP, Al Jazeera, and the BBC, that Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a vocal supporter of the mass anti-government protests in 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring, was among those put to death for terrorism offences.

Sheikh Nimr’s death sentence was confirmed in October last year and his family voiced publicly how he was found guilty of seeking “foreign meddling” inSaudi Arabia. They also said he was found guilty of “disobeying” Saudi Arabia’s rulers and organising military factions against incumbent Saudi security forces, which amounted to the country’s determination that he engaged in terrorism offences.

However, Sheikh Nimr’s supporters said he only engaged and pushed for peaceful demonstrations.

In November 2015, Amnesty International said “a
t least 151 people have been put to death in Saudi Arabia so far this year — the highest recorded figure since 1995 — in an unprecedented wave of executions marking a grim new milestone in the Saudi Arabian authorities’ use of the death penalty.”

“The Saudi Arabian authorities appear intent on continuing a bloody execution spree which has seen at least 151 people put to death so far this year – an average of one person every two days,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director at Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, in a statement.

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