SHAFAQNA – Sheikh Al-Nimr’s life is in imminent danger. Several indicators suggest that Sheikh Al-Nimr’s case has reached a critical point.
Human rights activists worldwide are demanding clemency for cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for taking part in Shia Muslim minority protests in 2011. They warn the execution could inflame the whole of the Middle East.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) an independent non-profit organization based in London, have asked the UN to intervene and prevent al-Nimr’s execution. He is the most respected Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, where the majority of the approximately 18 million population are Sunni.
In their address they say: “It is a severe blight on the reputation of this office if it is not able to work to protect the rights of individuals to free speech, to protest, to practise their religion, to a fair trial, to not be subjected to torture, and the right to life.”
Sheikh Al-Nimr advocated peaceful and non-violent reform in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia. He spoke out against the state supported discriminatory policies and was critical of the Saudi’s unjust and widespread treatment of prisoners of conscience, which involved arbitrary detention, arbitrary Imprisonment (sometimes for years), and a lack of due process. He was active encouraging peaceful protests as a means for reform, with his famous words ‘We will use the roar of the word’. In a country which has a very poor human rights record and which is known for silencing dissent, Sheikh Al-Nimr was arbitrarily detained for his peaceful speech.
Since Saudi security authorities arrested Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr in 2012 , he has been subsequently sentenced to death, via execution, as a result of his human rights activities. During his detention of over 1030 days, he was tortured and deprived of access to medical treatment, despite being shot in his thigh by Saudi security forces during his violent arrest. A Saudi Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh sentenced the prominent cleric Al-Nimr to death for “sedition” on 15th October 2015. Several human rights organisation such as Amnesty International confirm that he was merely excercising in freedom of expression and was not given fair due process during his trial.
Many activists around the world recently took part in a global day of demonstration and demanded the release of Al-Nimr on the 24th of March. Recently, there has been disturbing indicators with regards to Al-Nimr’s case, and many of these unconfirmed indicators suggest that Al-Nimr’s execution is likely to go ahead.
The representative of Bahraini Shiite leader, Shaykh Ali Salman, told the ABNA news agency that US Secretary of State John Kerry was dismayed by the Saudi decision to execute Ayatollah al-Nimr. Allegedly, Kerry was informed about the Saudi decision during a meeting in Riyadh on May 6.
“John Kerry expressed his surprise to President Barack Obama over the decision made by the House of Saud, and by their silence they gave the green light to Saudi Arabia to go ahead with the execution,” the representative said.
Bahrain MP Jawad Fairouz, who is in exile in London said in comments to Shafaqna that Sheikh Al Nimr execution would come as crime against not just the Shia Muslim community but the world as his worlds have always been that of a man of peace.
A symbol for millions, a fervent and dedicated rights activists, Sheikh Al Nimr has been more than just a religious leader for the Shia community, he has tireless advocated for inter-religious tolerance, campaigning for the rights of all his fellow Saudis, regardless of their faith or affiliations.
A man of peace and a man of truce, Sheikh Al Nimr has come to represent hope, freedom and courage before tyranny.
Celine Langer with Human Rights Watch told Shafaqna in exclusive comments that the execution of Sheikh Al Nimr would come as yet another blow to Saudi Arabia’s disturbing human track records.
“The Kingdom has proven extremely violent and repressive since King Salman took the reins of powers. HRW strongly condemns any planned execution of Sheikh Al Nimr as we believe he is a prisoner of conscience.”
Amnesty International also spoke against Saudi Arabia’s plan against the Al Nimr, saying that such actions will only come to fuel unrest and distrust among Saudi Arabia’s Shia community.