“Saudi Arabia Faces Outcry Over Death Sentence for Shia Faith Leader”
The Guardian, October 16, 2014
“Saudi Arabia is facing an international outcry and accusations of promoting sectarian hatred after a Shia Muslim religious leader from the country’s volatile eastern province was sentenced to death. Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who led protests in Qatif at the height of the Arab spring in 2011, was convicted on Wednesday of sedition and other charges in a case that has been followed closely by Shias in the kingdom and neighbouring Bahrain. Shia Muslims make up 10%-15% of the population of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia…. State prosecutors had reportedly asked for Nimr to be crucified. The sentence is thought likely to be commuted on appeal. Nimr was arrested in 2012 and ill-treated during his two-year detention, much of it spent in solitary confinement. He was denied surgery for bullet wounds suffered when he was arrested. He was charged with ‘disobeying the ruler’, ‘inciting sectarian strife’, and encouraging and leading demonstrations.”
Quickie Analysis: Whether or not the sentence is commuted, this act shows that Saudi Arabia is on the same level (or below) Russia and China when it comes to crushing political dissent.