Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah has condemned as an “assassination” Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
In a statement carried by its website al-Manar on Saturday, Hezbollah condemned the execution of Sheikh Nimr as a “heinous crime,” saying the move was based on “false pretexts” and “empty allegations.”
Hezbollah said the reason behind the execution of Nimr was that the respected cleric always spoke for the oppressed against the regime in Saudi Arabia.
The Lebanese resistance movement also condemned the Saudi authorities’ designation of Nimr and other anti-regime Shia activists as terrorist elements, saying Riyadh tried to divert attention from its terror-seeking policies by killing Nimr and others over their alleged role in acts of terror.
Hezbollah described the late Sheikh Nimr as a spiritual scholar who always sought dialogue and resisted injustice. His martyrdom will pave the way for the final abolishment of the Saudi kingdom, the Lebanese resistance movement said.
It said Nimr’s execution was a beginning in the New Year for a string of new crimes by the Saudi regime.
Hezbollah called on rights groups across the world to condemn the execution of Sheikh Nimr as a crime.
The Lebanese group also said it also holds the United States responsible for the execution of Nimr as Washington has always provided direct support for the Saudi regime and covered up Riyadh’s continued violation of the rights of its people and the people of other countries in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia on Saturday executed Sheikh Nimr along with 47 others in defiance of international calls for the release of the prominent Shia cleric and other jailed political activists in the kingdom.
Reactions continued to pour in over the execution, with Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq’s former prime minister, saying that the move will mark the end of Saudi Arabia’s government.
“We strongly condemn these detestable sectarian practices and affirm that the crime of executing Sheikh Nimr will topple the Saudi regime as the crime of executing the martyr (Mohammed Baqir) al-Sadr did to Saddam (Hussein),” said Maliki, referring to another prominent Shia cleric killed in 1980.
In condemnation of the execution of Sheikh Nimr, Iran’s Foreign Ministry also said, “The execution of a personality such as Sheikh Nimr who had no means other than speech to pursue his political and religious objectives only shows the depth of imprudence and irresponsibility.”