Saudi Arabia has broken off diplomatic ties with Iran following an attack on the Kingdom’s embassy in Tehran, inspired by Saudi’s decision to execute 47 men including Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir announced the decision to expel Iran’s diplomats following the evacuation of its own diplomatic staff from Iran.
Iran’s diplomats have been given 48 hours to leave Saudi Arabia after the Kingdom’s foreign ministry accused Iran of failing in its duty to protect its embassy in Tehran.
A large mob attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran last night, setting the building on fire with petrol bombs and ransacking items from the Saudi diplomatic offices.
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The escalating war of words comes after a night of violence in Iran’s capital, Tehran, where a furious mob petrol bombed the Saudi embassy (pictured) in protest to al-Nimr’s killing
Saudi Arabia claimed Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and the other executed prisoners, which include three other Shiite dissidents and a number of al-Qaeda supporters, were all convicted ‘terrorists’.
It said Iran had ‘revealed its true face as a supporter of terrorists’ by condemning al-Nimr’s death.
The escalating war of words came after a night of violence in the Iranian capital of Tehran, where a furious mob petrol bombed the Saudi embassy to protest al-Nimr’s killing. At least 40 were arrested on suspicion of attacking and setting fire to the embassy.
Iraq’s former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki warned the executions would ‘topple the Saudi regime’, US and European said they risked ‘exacerbating sectarian tensions’, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was ‘deeply dismayed’.
The Saudi Arabian embassy was set alight by members of the crowd, who threw petrol bombs into the building
Flames burn inside the offices of the embassy, where staff had already evacuated from inside the building
The violent mob was protesting the killing of Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr (pictured), the most vocal critic of the Saudi dynasty, who was the driving force behind the protests that broke out in the east of the country in 2011
Protesters set about damaging and stealing property from inside the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital city of Tehran
Tehran’s police chief said that an unspecified number of ‘unruly elements’ had been arrested for attacking the embassy with petrol bombs and rocks
Iranian security stand guard to protect Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of al-Nimr
Iranian protesters set fire to pictures of the Saudi royal family in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran
A BRIEF HISTORY OF IRAN AND SAUDI ARABIA’S HISTORICALLY TENSE RELATIONSHIP
They are both Muslim countries, both have a vast supply of oil and they share no borders, and yet Iran and Saudi Arabia’s relationship has been plagued with aggression and confrontation.
Saudi Arabia is a predominantly Sunni nation, a sect which believes the prophet Muhammad was succeeded by his father-in-law Abu Bakr. Most Iranians are Shiites, who claim Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin, Ali Ibn Abi Talib, was his first ‘caliph’.
Historically, they have clashed over their differing interpretations of Islam, aspirations to lead the Islamic world, their oil export policy and relations with the United States.
More recently, the relationship soured over Iran’s nuclear programme, the 1979 Islamic revolution and an alleged plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States.
After the rebellion, in which revolutionaries called on monarchies like Saudi Arabia’s to be overthrown and replaced with Islamic Republics, Iran accused the Saudis of being an ‘agent of the US’.
Saudi Arabia (right, its King Salman) and Iran (left, its Supreme Leader Ayatolah Khamenei) have clashed over their differing interpretations of Islam, aspirations to lead the Islamic world, their oil export policy and relations with the United States
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameni, who started the revolution, was opposed to monarchies because he believed them to be un-Islamic.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia was concerned that Iran was obsessed with exporting its revolution to expand its influence in the Persian Gulf region.
Relations hit rock bottom in 2011, when US officials alleged a plot to assassinate Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir was tied to the Iranian government.
They claimed Iranian nationals Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri planned to kill al-Jubeir at a restaurant with a bomb and then detonate an explosive at the Saudi embassy in Washington.
They have also clashed over oil and gas export policies. Saudi Arabia, with its large oil reserves, is said to favour moderate prices over a long term period.
Meanwhile Iran, which has been crippled with sanctions following its decades old war with Iraq, has been forced to sell oil at high prices for short term profits.
Al-Nimr, the most vocal critic of the Saudi dynasty, was the driving force behind the protests which broke out in the east of the country in 2011, where the Shiite minority claims they are fiercely persecuted.
None of the Saudi embassy staff were inside the building when demonstrators broke in and trashed the offices. They forced their way inside where they ransacked rooms, destroyed furniture and started fires before they were ejected by police.
Tehran’s police chief said an unspecified number of ‘unruly elements’ were arrested for attacking the embassy with petrol bombs and rocks overnight.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who condemned al-Nimr’s execution, said the attacks on the embassy were ‘unjustifiable’.
He ordered his Interior Ministry to arrest the attackers, who he described as ‘extremists’, and punish them for ‘such ugly acts’.
Violent demonstrations have also erupted across the Middle Eastern and Gulf countries, including Lebanon, Pakistan and Bahrain, while Muslims in the West have held peaceful marches.
Footage from Iraq claimed to show Saudi Arabia’s newly reopened embassy in Baghdad (pictured) engulfed in smoke after a rocket was reported to have been fired at it
Helicopters circled high above the embassy in central Baghdad, which was targeted after the news of al-Nimr’s execution spread to Iraq
Shiite protesters clashed with Indian police in the disputed Kashmir region today. They threw rocks at policemen, who retaliated with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Demonstrators in Bahrain were also met with tear gas as they fought with security forces, while hundreds also protested in Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Karbala.
Violent demonstrations have since erupted across the Middle Eastern and Gulf countries, including Lebanon, Pakistan and Bahrain, while Muslims in the West have held peaceful marches.
Sheik al-Nimr and a number of the other prisoners executed had been convicted following trials that raised serious concerns over the nature of the charges and the fairness of the process
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Thousands have also gathered in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, ahead of a speech by the leader of the Lebanese Shiite militia group Hezbollah.
It issued a statement condemning al-Nimr’s execution, with Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem calling it ‘a sign of shame and weakness’ for Saudi Arabia
Meanwhile, hundreds of Shiite Muslims marched through the Qatif district of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, closely watched by security services.
The US State Department said Saudi Arabia risked ‘exacerbating sectarian tensions’ and Ban Ki-moon said he was ‘deeply dismayed’ by the execution of al-Nimr.
‘Sheik al-Nimr and a number of the other prisoners executed had been convicted following trials that raised serious concerns over the nature of the charges and the fairness of the process,’ Ban’s spokesman said.
‘The Secretary-General also calls for calm and restraint in reaction to the execution of Sheikh Nimr and urges all regional leaders to work to avoid the exacerbation of sectarian tensions.’
Amnesty International spokesman Shane Enright said the death penalty was ‘unacceptable in all circumstances’ and it was particularly concerning that a number of ‘peaceful dissidents’ including al-Nimr had been killed.
Kashmiri Shiite protesters shout slogans during a demonstration in Srinagar following the execution of prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr
The Shiite protesters (pictured) in Kashmir threw rocks at the police who retaliated with tear gas and rubber bullets
As well as the protests in Kashmir (pictured), demonstrators in Bahrain were also met with tear gas as they fought with security forces,
Thousands gathered in the disputed Kashmir region to clash with riot police, who pelted them with tear gas
An armed riot policeman walks towards the crowd of hundreds who gathered to protest the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr
UK TREASURY MINISTER DEFENDS UK’S CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH SAUDIS
Treasury minister David Gauke (pictured) defended UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia
A Government minister has defended the UK’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia amid an international outcry over the execution of 47 prisoners.
Treasury minister David Gauke said capital punishment was ‘wrong’, but the close ties between the UK and Riyadh meant ‘we can tell them what we think’.
Treasury Financial Secretary Mr Gauke told Sky News: ‘Clearly it is a very worrying development and we oppose capital punishment in this way, we think that that is wrong.’
But he added: ‘When it comes to protecting British people, the Prime Minister has made it clear that intelligence from Saudi Arabia has helped save lives and protect people in the UK.
‘We have a relationship with Saudi Arabia where we are able to speak candidly to them, where these issues are raised on a regular basis by the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister and our representatives in Riyadh.
‘We are able to have that relationship where we can tell them what we think and clearly it is a worrying development, what we have heard from Saudi Arabia in the last few days.’
Meanwhile shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn described the execution as ‘profoundly wrong’ and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron urged David Cameron to speak out against the Saudi regime’s actions.
Speaking at the scene of the demonstration, he said a recent Amnesty report concluded that the trial against him was ‘deeply flawed’.
He added: ‘We also came to the conclusion that he was jailed solely for expressing his peaceful points of view, protesting peacefully against the regimes.
‘This is an absolute, fundamental, breach of basic human rights.’
Al-Nimr’s family said they planned to hold three days of mourning but they have yet to claim his body.
We also came to the conclusion that he [al-Nimr] was jailed solely for expressing his peaceful points of view, protesting peacefully against the regimes. This is an absolute, fundamental, breach of basic human rights
Shane Enright, Amnesty International
His brother Mohammed al-Nimr said Saudi officials told his family that he had already been buried in an undisclosed cemetery.
Despite supporting the capital punishment, Saudi Arabia is a member of the UN Human Rights Council. Secret diplomatic cables exposed in September last year appeared to show that the UK helped the kingdom join in a vote-trading deal.
Al-Nimr’s execution has sparked fierce criticism from Shiite communities in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Indian-controlled Kashmir.
One of the 47 men executed in Saudi Arabia was Adel al-Dhubaiti, the al-Qaeda gunman convicted for the attempted assassination of BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner and the murder of his cameraman Simon Cumbers.
Mr Gardner was shot six times and left paralysed whilst he was filming a report with Simon Cumbers in June 2004. He was offered the chance to meet al-Dhubaiti when he was sentenced in 2014 but declined.
Iran’s Shia leadership said the execution of Nimr ‘would cost dearly’ and an Iranian-backed Shiite militia in Iraq called the execution a ‘new crime’ carried out by the Saudi royal family.
Demonstrators burn tires during a protest, against the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi authorities, in Manama, Bahrain
Enraged Bahraini demonstrators pulled up a palm tree trunk to make a blockade in the street against security forces at a demonstration
Pakistani Shiite Muslims rally to protest against the execution Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Lahore, Pakistan
Saudi Arabia came under blistering criticism from the Middle East’s Shiites (pictured, protests in Pakistan) shortly after it executed a top Shiite cleric known for his activism against the Sunni government
One Kashmiri Shiite holds a Hezbollah flag shout slogans against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a protest in Srinagar
Concerns remain that Saudi Arabia’s decision to execute 47 prisoners may lead to further sectarian tension in the region
Protesters holding a banner saying ‘Death is normal to us and our dignity from God is martyrdom’ in Manama, Bahrain
Protests: Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr has outraged Shia leaders and communities in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Indian-controlled Kashmir (pictured)
Protests and large gatherings were held in remembrance for the prominent Shi’a cleric, who was killed alongside 46 other people
Kashmiri Shiite men and children sit united in front of a candle light vigil in honour of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed in Saudi
Saudi Arabia has said that Iran is responsible for protecting the Kingdom’s embassy as the violence grows at the demonstrations.
One Shiite militia in Iraq called on Baghdad to ‘reconsider the benefit of having a Saudi embassy in Iraq, with a suspicious ambassador and goals.’
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki warned in a statement that the execution of the Shiite cleric ‘will topple the Saudi regime’.
But most of the 47 executed in the kingdom’s biggest mass execution for decades were Sunnis convicted of al Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia a decade ago. Four, including Nimr, were Shi’ites accused of shooting policemen.
The executions took place in 12 cities in Saudi Arabia, with four prisons using firing squads and the others beheading.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, members of a Saudi-led coalition battling Iran-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen, praised their ally.
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan called the executions a ‘clear message against terrorism and those who call for and incite sedition and unrest to tear apart the society’s unity and threaten social peace in the kingdom’.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, members of a Saudi-led coalition battling Iran-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen, praised their ally, but protests broke out in Bahrain’s suburbs
Bahrain has faced unrest from its Shiite majority population, and backed Riyadh in ‘all deterrent and needed measures it takes to confront violence and extremism’
Protesters clashed with security forces in a number of villages in Bahrain, where the government has sided with their ally Saudi Arabia
Saudi women hold up posters depicting Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr at a protest in the eastern coastal city of Qatif
Many of the protesters in London gathered in support for Nimr al-Nimr, calling for the action against the Saudi regime
Demonstrators protest outside the Saudi Embassy in London, following Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 prisoners in one day
WHO WAS SHEIKH NIMR AL-NIMR AND WHY WAS HE EXECUTED BY SAUDI ARABIA?
Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr (pictured) was arrested in July 2012 and charged with instigating unrest
Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr rose to prominence during the 2011 pro-democracy protests in his hometown of Qatif, eastern Saudi Arabia.
His leadership elevated him to hero-like status among the protesting Shiite youth.
He also became an icon in the broader ‘Shia versus Sunni’ narrative, which is played out across the Middle East – most acutely in the Yemeni and Syrian civil wars and in Iraq.
His peaceful, but outspoken opposition to the Saudi Royal family, and his very public speeches against the monarchy demanding equality for Shias in Saudi Arabia also increased his profile.
Nimr was arrested in July 2012 and charged with instigating unrest, ‘disobeying the ruler’ and ‘encouraging, leading and participating in demonstrations’.
The charges were dismissed by human rights advocacy group Amnesty International as violating freedom of speech. His arrest caused days of rioting in Saudi Arabia, in which three people were killed.
He was sentenced to death on October 25 after his appeal was denied, no date was set for his execution, although Saudi Arabian King Salman could have pardoned the cleric at any time.
Amnesty International UK’s Shane Enright said a recent Amnesty report concluded that the trial against Nimr was ‘deeply flawed’, adding: ‘We also came to the conclusion that he was jailed solely for expressing his peaceful points of view, protesting peacefully against the regimes.
‘This is an absolute, fundamental, breach of basic human rights,’ he said.
The Sheikh’s nephew Ali al-Nimr, who was 17 at the time of his arrest following the protests, was not included in the list of those executed although concerns are growing for his fate.
He has been sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion.
Bahrain, which has itself faced unrest from its Shiite majority population, also backed Riyadh in ‘all deterrent and needed measures it takes to confront violence and extremism’.
In the suburbs of the Bahraini capital Manama however, dozens of Shiite youth gathered for small demonstrations to condemn the executions. Clashes quickly escalated between demonstrators and security forces, who released tear gas to disperse the gathering.
Sheikh Nimr was an icon for Islamic resistance… His words were his weapon. They couldn’t defeat his words so they detained him, tortured him and today executed him in front the world’s eyes, like a challenge to global conscience
Cleric from Bahrain during protests
A cleric from Bahrain who was at the protest in Iraq’s Karbala, said the world should react to Nimr’s execution. ‘Sheikh Nimr was an icon for Islamic resistance,’ said Sheikh Habib al-Jamri.
‘His words were his weapon. They couldn’t defeat his words so they detained him, tortured him and today executed him in front the world’s eyes, like a challenge to global conscience.’
Bahrain was one of the countries caught in the centre of the Arab Spring in 2011, with the country’s Shiite majority population heavily suppressed during protests against the monarchy. Bahrain has remained a close ally of Saudi, who have been careful to safeguard the country during the Arab Spring.
Shiite protesters in Bahrain in 2011 called for the constitutional reform of the monarchy before security forces heavy handedly clamped down on demonstrations leading to calls for the end of the monarchy.
The protests in Bahrain yesterday come after opponents have repeatedly been detained and stripped of their citizenship for speaking out against the Bahraini government and the actions of their ally Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has executed 47 people convicted of ‘terrorism’ yesterday, including a prominent Shiite cleric behind anti-government protests
Executed: The ministry statement, carried by the official SPA news agency, said the 47 had been convicted of adopting the radical ‘takfiri’ ideology, joining ‘terrorist organisations’ and implementing various ‘criminal plots’. Above, Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr was one of the 47 people executed yesterday
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) threatened to retaliate against Saudi Arabia for any execution of its members in December.
The list also included Fares al-Shuwail who has been described by Saudi media outlets as the top religious leader of Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested in August 2004.
The ministry statement said the 47 had been convicted of adopting the radical ‘takfiri’ ideology, joining ‘terrorist organisations’ and implementing various ‘criminal plots’.
The list also includes Sunnis convicted of involvement in Al-Qaeda attacks that killed Saudis and foreigners in the kingdom in 2003 and 2004.
International rights group Reprieve, who works to abolish the death penalty has condemned Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 people, saying two were teenagers when they were detained.
Reprieve says the 47 people whose execution was announced Saturday include four Shiite dissidents.
It says one of the dissidents, Ali al-Ribh, was 18 when he was arrested in 2012, and another, Mohammed al-Shuyokh, was 19.
Both were convicted on charges related to anti-government protests in eastern Saudi Arabia, where the Shiite minority is centered.
Repercussions: Iran’s Shia leadership said the execution of Nimr ‘would cost dearly’ and an Iranian-backed Shiite militia in Iraq called the execution, a ‘new crime’ carried out by the Saudi royal family
Soon after the announcement was made, the country’s top cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh said that the executions were in line with Islamic law and required to safeguard the kingdom’s security. Above, Shia protests in Indian-controlled Kashmir
Mourning: Shiite Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was a persistent critic of Saudi Arabia’s Sunni royal family and a driving force of the protests that broke out in 2011 in the Sunni-ruled kingdom’s east, where the Shiite minority complains of marginalisation. Above, men protest his execution in Indian-controlled Kashmir
SHEIKH AL-NIMR, THREE SHIITE CLERICS AND AL-QAEDA MILITANTS: THE 47 MEN EXECUTED BY SAUDI ARABIA
1. Ameen Mohammed Abdullah Al Aqala – Saudi national.
2. Anwar Abdulrahman Khalil Al-Najjar – Saudi national.
3. Badr bin Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Badr- Saudi national.
4. Bandar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Ghaith – Saudi nationality.
5. Hassan Hadi bin Shuja’a Al-Masareer – Saudi nationality.
6. Hamad bin Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al-Humaidi- Saudi nationality
7. Khalid Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Jarallah – Saudi nationality
8. Ridha Abdulrahman Khalil Al-Najjar- Saudi nationality
9. Saad Salamah Hameer – Saudi nationality
10. Salah bin Saeed bin Abdulraheem Al-Najjar – Saudi nationality
11. Salah bin Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Al Hussain -Saudi nationality
12. Saleh bin Abdulrahman bin Ibrahim Al-Shamsan – Saudi nationality
13. Saleh bin Ali bin Saleh Al-Juma’ah – Saudi nationality
14. Adel bin Saad bin Jaza’ Al-Dhubaiti – Saudi nationality
15. Adel Mohammed Salem Abdullah Yamani – Saudi nationality
16. Abduljabbar bin Homood bin Abdulaziz Al-Tuwaijri – Saudi nationality
17. Abdulrahman Dhakheel Faleh Al-Faleh – Saudi nationality
18. Abdullah Sayer Moawadh Massad Al-Mohammadi – Saudi nationality
19. Abdullah bin Saad bin Mozher Shareef – Saudi nationality
20. Abdullah Saleh Abdulaziz Al-Ansari – Saudi nationality
21. Abdullah Abdulaziz Ahmed Al-Muqrin – Saudi nationality
22. Abdullah Musalem Hameed Al-Raheef – Saudi nationality
23. Abdullah bin Mua’ala bin A’li – Saudi nationality
24. Abdulaziz Rasheed bin Hamdan Al-Toaili’e – Saudi nationality
25. Abdulmohsen Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Yahya – Saudi nationality
26. Isam Khalaf Mohammed Al-Mothri’e – Saudi nationality
27. Ali Saeed Abdullah Al Ribeh – Saudi nationality
28. Ghazi Mohaisen Rashed – Saudi nationality
29. Faris Ahmed Jama’an Al Showail – Saudi nationality
30. Fikri Ali bin Yahya Faqih – Saudi nationality
31. Fahd bin Ahmed bin Hanash Al Zamel – Saudi nationality
32. Fahd Abdulrahman Ahmed Al-Buraidi – Saudi nationality
33. Fahd Ali Ayedh Al Jubran – Saudi nationality
34. Majed Ibrahim Ali Al-Mughainem – Saudi nationality
35. Majed Moeedh Rashed – Saudi nationality
36. Mishaal bin Homood bin Juwair Al-Farraj – Saudi nationality
37. Mohammed Abdulaziz Mohammed Al-Muharib – Saudi nationality
38. Mohammed Ali Abdulkarim Suwaymil – Saudi nationality
39. Mohammed Fathi Abula’ti Al-Sayed – Egyptian nationality
40. Mohammed bin Faisal bin Mohammed Al-Shioukh – Saudi nationality
41. Mostafa Mohammed Altaher Abkar – Chadian nationality
42. Moaidh Mufreh Ali Al Shokr- Saudi nationality
43. Nasser Ali Ayedh Al Jubran – Saudi nationality
44. Naif Saad Abdullah Al-Buraidi – Saudi nationality
45. Najeeb bin abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Bohaiji – Saudi nationality
46. Nimr Baqer Ameen Al-Nimr- Saudi nationality
47. Nimr Sehaj Zeid Al-Kraizi – Saudi nationality
Ahead of the announcement their mothers wrote a letter of thanks, published in The Independent today, along with the mothers of other youths sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia.
Reprieve said in a statement that the Saudi government ‘is continuing to target those who have called for domestic reform in the kingdom.’
The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off from opposite side
Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry statement
Quoting the Koran, the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry statement said: ‘The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.’
While the list does not include Nimr’s nephew, Ali al-Nimr, who was 17 when he was arrested following the protests, concerns are growing for his fate.
His sentencing to death by beheading and crucifixion sparked an international outcry. Official charges against Nimr include attending a protest, using his phone to encourage further support for the demonstrations and possessing a gun, an accusation which the family strongly denies.
British shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn told the Press Association: ‘With the carrying out of this large number of executions there will now be huge international concern about what will happen to Ali Mohammed al-Nimr who is Sheikh al-Nimr’s nephew.
‘The Foreign Secretary has told Parliament that he does not expect Ali Mohammed al-Nimr to be executed but he now needs to seek fresh assurances that he will be reprieved.’
Protest: Scores of Shi’ite Muslims marched through the Qatif district of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province in protest at the execution of cleric Nimr al-Nimra (file photo)
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Saudi embassy in London to express their anger about the executions
Amnesty International UK’s Shane Enright was at the protest outside the Saudi Embassy in London (pictured). He said a recent Amnesty report concluded that the trial against Nimr was ‘deeply flawed’
Death toll: Executions have increased in the kingdom since King Salman acceded to the throne in January 2015 following the death of king Abdullah (file photo)
The Sheikh’s brother Mohammed al-Nimr said that the executions came as a ‘big shock’ because ‘we thought the authorities could adopt a political approach to settle matters without bloodshed.’
‘There will be reactions,’ he said, but urged people to ‘adopt peaceful means when expressing their anger.’
He says the family has not yet been asked to pick up the body but that a funeral would be held as soon as possible.