Saudi Arab

Demo held in Saudi Arabia against dissidents’ death sentences

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province to protest against the death sentences given to a Shia Muslim cleric and two other dissidents.

People launched a rally in the city of Awamiyah on Friday to show their solidarity with the political dissidents who have been handed down the death penalty.

On Tuesday, a Saudi court sentenced two political dissidents to death and five others to long jail terms for attending anti-regime rallies.

Earlier in the month, the prominent Saudi Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, was sentenced to death at the Specialized Criminal Court in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh.

Nimr was attacked and detained in the Saudi city of Qatif in July 2012. His arrest sparked widespread protests in the kingdom and other countries including Bahrain.

Sheikh Nimr is accused of disturbing the country’s security, giving anti-regime speeches, and defending political prisoners.

Amnesty International has called the death sentence for Sheikh Nimr “appalling,” saying the verdict should be quashed since it is politically motivated.

International human rights organizations have repeatedly lashed out at Saudi Arabia for failing to address the human rights situation in the kingdom. They say Saudi Arabia has persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly.

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