SHAFAQNA – Saudi Arabia is set to carry out three more death sentences this March, directly following in the bloody footsteps of January, 2, 2016, when 47 men, among whom prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh nimr al-Nimr were killed.
Okaz, a liberal newspaper believed to be one of the most-read in Saudi Arabia, reported that four convicted “terrorists” were due to be beheaded imminently on Friday.
“The four terrorists are waiting for the implementation of retribution against them will complete the first batch of 47 on Saturday (2 January)” its report read.
Their punishment has reportedly been endorsed by the requisite 13 judges, who found them guilty of belonging to terrorist groups, carrying out criminal acts and “embracing a takfirist approach contrary to the Quran and Sunnah”.
Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia’s state religion is anchored in Takfirism, a practice which declares all those outside Wahhabism as apostates, and enemies deserving of death. It is important to understand that Takfirism is contrary to Islam teachings, as it exemplifies intolerance. “To me, my religion, and to you, yours” reads the Quran.
The word “takfiri” has become a sectarian slur used by Saudi Arabia to describe whoever oppose the state’s Wahhabist doctrine.
While the report did not name the prisoners, human rights group fear they could include three juveniles arrested after attending anti-government protests in 2012. Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher were aged between 15 and 17 at the time of their arrests and their death sentences were upheld by Saudi Arabia’s Specialised Criminal Court last year.
James Lynch, Deputy Director of its Middle East and North Africa Programme, called on an immediate moratorium on executions, adding: “Saudi Arabia’s use of the death penalty to silence dissent sends a chilling message to anybody who dares to speak out against the authorities.”
Maya Foa, head of the Reprieve’s death penalty team, said reports of the impending executions were “deeply worrying”.
“January’s mass execution included political protestors and juveniles – these prisoners weren’t ‘terrorists’, but ordinary people who lost their lives for the so-called ‘crime’ of speaking out against the Saudi regime,” she added. “It would be appalling if the Saudis now executed three further juveniles who were brutally tortured into ‘confessing’.
“The British government and others must look beyond the Saudi propaganda machine, and do all they can to prevent January’s outrages from being repeated.”
Rights activists have now mobilized across the world calling for all to trend: #FREETHE3 in a massive Twitter storm.
Beyond the injustice of Ali, Dawwod and Abdullah’s situation, lies the abject tyranny of a regime which billions of dollars have allowed for its crimes to go unpunished! Those boys are the very definition of innocence … their crimes: Being Shia in Saudi Arabia.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna