Saudi Arabia sentences 26 dissidents to death: Report
Among those sentenced to death is the prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was attacked, injured and arrested by Saudi security forces en route to his house in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province on July 8, 2012.
He has been charged with disturbing the country’s security, giving anti-government speeches, insulting the Saudi king in Friday Prayers sermons, and defending the political prisoners.
Shia activist Kamel Abbas al-Ahmed, who has been in detention after criticizing the regime and fighting for religious freedom and against religious discrimination, is another convict.
In 2009 Ahmed had rejected the remarks of Adel al-Kelbani, the Imam of Grand Mosque of Mecca, who had alleged Shia Muslims are unbelievers.
Following Kelbani’s comments, Ahmed joined a group of political activists comprising writers and intellectuals who issued a statement saying the Saudi authorities are responsible for sectarian discrimination against Shia Muslims in the Kingdom.
Fazil Halal al-Jami’ and Hassan Ahmad al-Saeed are two others handed the death penalty on charges of acting against national security, staging anti-regime demonstrations and strikes, and making petrol bombs to be used against Saudi forces during protests.
Ali Jalan al-Jaroudi has been also condemned to death over participation in anti-regime rallies, connection with the Arabic-language news network Al-Alam and preparing banners and placards in condemnation of the Al Saud regime and using them in anti-regime demonstrations.
Others include Mukhallaf Daham al-Shemri, Mortaji Abu Al Saud, Hossein Ali al-Barbari and Al-Seyyed Mortaji al-Alawi, who brought down the Saudi national flag raised on a school roof.
International rights organizations say Saudi Arabia has persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly in defiance of international criticism.
Peaceful demonstrations and gatherings are banned and many people have been jailed merely for posting messages critical of the ruling authorities on social media networks.
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