Saudi Arabia executes top Shia cleric

Saudi Arabia executes top Shia cleric

Saudi Arabia has executed the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the interior ministry said.

He was among 47 put to death after being convicted of terrorism offences, it said in a statement.

Sheikh Nimr was a vocal supporter of the mass anti-government protests that erupted in Eastern Province in 2011, where a Shia majority have long complained of marginalisation. His arrest two years ago, during which he was shot, triggered days of unrest.

Sheikh Nimr’s death sentence was confirmed in October.

His brother said he was found guilty of seeking “foreign meddling” in the kingdom, “disobeying” its rulers and taking up arms against the security forces.Shia-led Iran – the main regional rival of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia – previously warned that executing Sheikh Nimr would “cost Saudi Arabia dearly”.

Of the 47 executed, one was a Chadian national while another was Egyptian. The rest are Saudis. Those put to death include Sunnis convicted of terror attacks, reports said. Protests broke out in early 2011 in the oil-rich Eastern Province in the wake of the Arab Spring. Read more


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