Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was arrested two years ago for causing unrest in the oil-rich, Shia-majority Eastern Province. Shias accuse Sunni authorities of discrimination. During the arrest, police shot him four times in the leg. Days of violent rioting followed.
Sheikh Nimr’s brother said he had been sentenced to death by Riyadh’s Specialised Criminal Court, which tries terrorism cases, on Wednesday morning.
When the cleric, who holds the rank of ayatollah, went on trial in March 2013 prosecutors called for his execution by “crucifixion”, a punishment which in Saudi Arabia involves beheading followed by public display of the decapitated body.
Activists and relatives say Sheikh Nimr, who has a wide following among Shia in Eastern Province and other states, supported only peaceful protests and eschewed all violent opposition to the government.
In 2011, he told the BBC that he supported “the roar of the word against authorities rather than weapons… the weapon of the word is stronger than bullets, because authorities will profit from a battle of weapons”.
Criticizing the Saudi Royalty can cost a Saudi citizen their life but support Iran while doing so gets one crucified. I find the Saudi’s and Iranians the flip side of the same coin.
Just as the West believes it is justified in arming rebels to topple the Syrian government, I think it’s high time that some countries got togather and began arming the severely oppressed Shias of Eastern Saudi Arabia in order to fight the Western backed Saudi government.