SHAFAQNA – Today a young boy, Ali Mohammad al-Nimr emaciates alone in solitary confinement, Al-Harra prison in Saudi Arabia, awaiting a death sentence. Al-Harrah is one of Saudi Arabia notorious high security prisons, where inmates are routinely tortured. For Ali, his fate is more grim. The Saudi regime plans on executing him to death by crucifixion and beheading. One of Ali’s capital offenses include :using a phone to promote disloyalty to the King.
Ali Mohammad al-Nimr’s nightmare began on February 14, 2012, when age only 16. Saudi Security Forces arrested him, as he rode his bike near his family home, by rear ending him with a Jeep.
Ali was born December 25, 1995 in Qatif, Saudi Arabia. He is the nephew of prominent Shia cleric and political activist Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. In December, 2011, Ali accompanied his uncle to a meeting, where Shiekh Nimr called for the peaceful respect human dignity for all citizens. For this crime, on October, 15 2014, Sheikh al-Nimr was sentenced to death by the Specialized Criminal Court, where charges included “seeking ‘foreign meddling’, ‘disobeying’ its rulers and taking up arms against the security forces.” His brother, Mohammad al-Nimr (Ali’s father), was arrested on the same day for tweeting information about the death sentence.
In the terrible day in February, without his parents ever being informed, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was taken to a juvenile prison – there he was tortured for months and asked to confess to crimes he never committed: all of it to implications Shiekh Nimr. For the next four month Ali Mohammad al-Nimr was held incommunicado, without any access to legal counsel or contact with the outside.
For he attended a peaceful rally in the Shia majority Qatif (eastern province of Saudi Arabia), Ali Mohammad al-Nimr was abducted and incarcerated. Because his family represents outspoken beacon of hope for Saudi Arabia’s Shia community, Ali Mohammad has been brutalized by the regime.
In June 2012, Ali’s mother was finally allowed to visit her son in prison. There, she witnessed the horrors her son was put through – the beating, the torture, the abuses and psychological duress he had to endure day after day, week after week, month after month.
In December 2012, Ali Mohammad al-Nimr, then age 17, was charged with thirteen ludicris charges including Hariba (treason against God and the King of Saudi Arabia) – a blanket accusation the Saudi regime has often times used to silence its prisoners of conscience.
Ali Mohammad was never allowed access to a lawyer, he was never offered the opportunity to defend himself, or even allowed to challenge the charges which were brought against him.
After being found guilty of all the charges against the King, Ali Mohammad al-Nimr was sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion.
In May 2014, following a lengthy and difficult appeal, Ali Mohammad’s case was reviewed before a panel of judges. Judges in Saudi Arabia, fall under the direct authority of the king, and their allegiance is not to the rule of law but the throne. Ali Mohammad al-Nimr never stood a chance at any fair trial.
Again, the final appeal was handed out secretly in July of 2015, where 13 judges sentenced him to death with no chance of further appeal.Since May 2014, Ali Mohammad, this young boy from Qatif has sat in prison, awaiting for his accusers to steal his last breath. His crime? Being a Shia Muslim in Saudi Arabia.
Ali’s predicament is not an isolated incident – Saudi Arabia’s prisons hold many minors within their walls; and too many, like Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, have been sentenced to death, in clear violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
It needs to be noted that in 1996, Saudi Arabia agreed to be a state party to the CRC, when the Saudi Human Rights Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
And yet, Saudi Arabia has systematically violated Ali Mohammed al-Nimr’s rights.
Not only has the UN failed to fulfill its mandate by challenging those in infractions of international law, it rewarded the kingdom.
In June of 2015 Faisal Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Geneva, was elected Chair of the UN Human Rights Council panel that appoints independent experts.
Today we wish to break the silence and denounce those crimes the international community should have acted against long ago!
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) states:
“Article 37 States Parties shall ensure that:(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;
(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;
(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;
(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.”
Moreover, under article 15 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), peaceful assembly is a protected right. It reads:
“Article 15: 1. States Parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.
- No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
Active petitions calling for the unconditional and immediate release of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr:
– The White House (for U.S. citizens only): https://petitions.whitehouse.gov//petition/negotiate-release-ali-mohammed-al-nimr
– Amnesty International: http://www.amnesty.org.au/action/action/38122/
– change.org: https://www.change.org/p/king-abdullah-bin-abdul-aziz-supreme-court-of-saudi-arab-stop-the-crucifixion-of-ali-mohammed-al-nimr#petition-letter
For all press queries and details please contact Al Nimr PR representatives at Veritas Consulting:
Catherine Shakdam in the UK at
Marwa Osman in Lebanon at