This is a cross-post from The Rambling Infidel
On January 2nd Saudi Arabia executed 47 people on charges of “terrorism” in what was a plainly unfair trial. Among them was a prominent and very outspoken Shia cleric Ayatollah Nimr Al-Nimr. Aside from him and 3 other Shia youth activists. Ayatollah Nimr became prominent for his role in the 2011 Shia protests in Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Arab spring. The specific charges he was convicted for included “disobeying the ruler”, “inciting sectarian strife”, “encouraging, leading & participating in protests”. In order words he was liquidated through state sponsored murder for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of speech.
All others executed were convicted of being involved with Al-Qaeda including Adel al-Dhubaiti, who shot and paralyzed Frank Gardner of the BBC in 2004 and Faris Al-Zahrani Al Qaeda’s top religious authority in Saudi Arabia. Seeing as Nimr did not have access to prepare his defence and did not have a lawyer to represent him, it is very difficult to take the Saudi “justice” system seriously.
However, there does seem to be some confusion in regards to the man himself with anti-Shia bigots and Saudi government apologists throwing charges of “terrorism”, “Iranian agent” and “extremist” at him. So I will try to make clear some of the controversies surrounding Nimr.
Is he a terrrorist?
This is the easiest one to answer. Eventhough the Saudi state have tried to paint Nimr as a terrorist and he was convicted in the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC). A court dedicated to counter-terrorism. As far as we know Nimr had no connections to any terrorist cell or organisation and has not engaged in any violent activities directed toward the Saudi government or Saudi civilians. So the question of terrorism is pretty much void.
Do read the rest of this post here.