International pressure is mounting on Saudi Arabia to stay the execution of young Shi’ite Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, accused of taking part in anti-government protests.
He has been sentenced to be beheaded, and then crucified, although he was a minor at the time of his alleged crimes.
“Well, this is a very politically-motivated case and we can see that from even the punishment that has been allotted, not just the death sentence but the death sentence by crucifixion which is the death sentence which is really reserved for certain punishments where they do want to make an example of somebody,” says the Director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty team Maya Foa.
In February 2012 Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province clashed with security forces as part of the “Arab Spring” movement. Shi’ites are a minority in Sunni Saudi Arabia, and regularly complain of persecution and discrimination.
Both Human Rights Watch and the UN have criticised his trial.