After losing his final appeal, a young Saudi Arabian activist is due to be executed in Saudi Arabia, followed by the appalling mounting of his headless body on a crucifix for public display.
While news like this is not uncommon in Saudi Arabia, human rights’ groups and Saudi critics are shocked by the nature of the execution as well as the weak case made against Ali Mohammad al Nimr.
Accused of participation in anti-government demonstrations and possessing firearms, Al Nimr was arrested in 2012 at the age of seventeen in the largely Shia province of Qatif. Although Al Nimr repeatedly denied the latter charge, a confession was allegedly forced out of him after his arrest by means of torture.
Al Nimr spent a short time in a juvenile detention facility, from where he was moved to prison when he turned 18 and sentenced to death in 2014 according to Amnesty International.
Condemning the sentence, Maya Foa of the legal charity Reprieve said in a statement: “Ali was a vulnerable child when he was arrested and this ordeal began.
“His execution—based apparently on the authorities’ dislike for his uncle, and his involvement in anti-government protests—would violate international law and the most basic standards of decency. It must be stopped.”
US talk show host Bill Maher highlighted Al Nimr’s case on television saying: “If you haven’t used up all your heroism hashtagging for the clock kid, maybe do it for this guy,” referring to the recent case of a Muslim kid getting arrested for inventing a clock.
Many have taken to the social media to condemn Al Nimr’s sentence and the recent appointment of Saudi Arabian ambassador to lead an influential human rights panel has also come under heavy criticism.