Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

U.N., rights groups call on Saudi Arabia to spare man from beheading, crucifixion

CNN.Com

A group of U.N. experts has joined rights groups in calling on Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of a Shiite man convicted of crimes reportedly committed as a teenager during protests inspired by the Arab Spring.

Ali al-Nimr, the nephew of firebrand Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, faces execution by beheading and an additional rare punishment of “crucifixion,” which means publicly displaying the body after death as a warning to others, according to Saudi state media.

“Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offense, and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations,” the U.N. group said in a statement Tuesday, invoking the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Saudi Arabia is a party.

Arrested as a teenager

Ali al-Nimr was a 17-year-old high school student when he was arrested for taking part in Arab Spring-inspired protests in 2012 calling for social and political reforms in the country’s restive and predominantly Shiite province of Qatif.

A court later convicted him of charges including belonging to a terror cell, attacking police with Molotov cocktails, incitement, and stoking sectarianism, according to the state media report.

His final appeal was rejected when the Appeals Court and High Court ratified his verdict last week, the report said.

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