Saudi Arabia sentences Shi'ite cleric to death
Sh'iite Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was convicted Oct. 15 of sedition and other charges in Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal Court and sentenced to death, raising fears of unrest from his supporters in neighboring Bahrain. Al-Nimr has been a vocal critic of the majority Sunni government in Saudi Arabia and was a key leader in the 2011 Arab Spring-inspired Sh'iite protests in the country. Al-Nimr was found guilty of not obeying King Abdullah, not pledging allegiance to him or the state, incitement of vandalism and sectarian strife, demonizing Saudi rulers, calling for the collapse of the state, and insulting relatives and companions of the Prophet Muhammad. Disobeying the ruler is a charge punishable by death. Prosecutors unsuccessfully asked that the body and head be put on public display, a severe punishment only rarely carried out. Al-Nimr will likely appeal the sentence, as activists are typically given long jail sentences on appeal despite harsh verdicts.
From Jurist, Oct. 16. Used with permission.
Sectarian massacre in Saudi Arabia
Saudi security forces on Nov. 4 shot dead a member of an armed group that killed five people in an overnight attack on Shi'ites marking the Ashura holiday in al-Dalwah village, al-Ahsa district. Masked gunmen opened fire on the religious gathering. Troops hunting suspects in the attack clashed with gunmen and killed "a wanted man" on a highway in al-Qassim governorate. A member of the security forces was also killed in the clash. Nine were taken into custoody. (Arab News, Reuters)
Saudi court sentences seven militants to death
A Saudi court sentenced seven militants to death over a 2014 shooting attack near al-Ahsa that killed eight Shiite Muslims. Three suspected ISIS members opened fire on Shiites who were celebrating Ashura, the holy day observed on the tenth day of Muharram, killing eight people. Three others were handed 25-year terms. (Jurist)