Tags: saudi | execute | political | shiite | cleric

Saudi Arabia Executes 47, Including Prominent Shiite Cleric

Saudi Arabia Executes 47, Including Prominent Shiite Cleric
Saudi Interior Ministry's spokesman Mansur al-Turki gestures during a news conference at the Saudi Officers club in Riyadh, on Jan. 2, 2016, following the execution of 47 people convicted of "terrorism."(FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

Saturday, 02 January 2016 07:30 AM

Saudi Arabia has executed 47 men for various bombings and attacks, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

The punishments were carried out in 10 provinces, according to a statement by the official Saudi Press Agency. While most of the convicted men were Saudi citizens, the number included one Egyptian and one Chadian national, it said. Some executions were carried out by firing squad and some by sword, a ministry spokesman said on Al-Arabiya TV.

The men were convicted of crimes including bombings targeting the traffic department and interior ministry in Riyadh, plots to attack military airports, and other strikes on security forces, the ministry said. Some of the attacks happened between 2003 and 2006. Those executed were described as promoters of a “deviant” version of Islam, a phrase used by Saudi Arabia for al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and other militant groups.

The kingdom is cracking down on domestic terrorists, who have staged multiple attacks since Saudi Arabia joined the U.S. coalition against Islamic State in 2014. Saudi security forces arrested 377 people for joining Islamic State, Al-Jazirah newspaper reported in December.

Cleric Death Sentence

Nimr al-Nimr, a dissident Shiite cleric from the oil-rich Eastern Province, was among those executed. Known for sermons which criticized Sunni rulers in Saudi Arabia, as well as Shiite Iran for supporting the Syrian regime’s crackdown on its opponents, al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to death in 2014.

The Saudi government will "pay a heavy price" for pursuing its policy of execution and suppression of its domestic critics, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said, according to the official news agency IRNA. “It is clear that the outcome of this unproductive and irresponsible policy will affect those behind it," he said.

While Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia largely escaped the unrest that spread across the Arab world in 2011, the country’s minority Shiites, who say they suffer discrimination, have occasionally protested and fought with security forces. Islamic State has exploited this fault line, striking Shiite mosques last year.

Saudi Arabia plans to host a joint operations room in Riyadh to coordinate a coalition of 34 Muslim nations to combat terrorism in Islamic countries, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the kingdom’s defense minister, said last month. The decision to form the coalition is part of a broader effort by Saudi Arabia to establish itself as the leader of the Sunni Muslim world’s battle against terrorism.


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Saudi Arabia has executed 47 men for various bombings and attacks, the interior ministry said on Saturday.The punishments were carried out in 10 provinces, according to a statement by the official Saudi Press Agency. While most of the convicted men were Saudi citizens, the...
saudi, execute, political, shiite, cleric
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2016-30-02
Saturday, 02 January 2016 07:30 AM
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