Saudi Arabia Executes Top Shia Cleric

Saudi Arabia Executes Top Shia Cleric

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

Sheikh Nimr was a vocal supporter of the mass anti-government protests that erupted in Eastern Province in 2011, where a Shia majority has long complained of marginalization.

In a statement released from the interior ministry, it noted that he was among 47 people put to death after being convicted of terrorism offences. Shia-lead Iran said Saudi Arabia would pay a "high price" for the execution.

A foreign ministry spokesman said Riyadh "supports terrorists... while executing and suppressing critics inside the country".

Iran is the main regional rival of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia.The executions were carried out simultaneously in 12 locations across Saudi Arabia.

Those also put to death include Sunnis convicted of involvement in al-Qaeda-linked terror attacks in 2003.Of the 47 executed, one was a Chadian national while another was Egyptian. The rest are Saudis.

The cleric's nephew, Ali al-Nimr, who was 17 when he was arrested following the demonstrations, was not listed as one of those killed.

 

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