Moral Low Ground


Saudi Man Ali Mohammed al-Nimr Sentenced to Beheading, Crucifixion, for Anti-Government Protest

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr (family photo)

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr (family photo)

A prisoner in Saudi Arabia who was arrested when he was 17 years old for the crime of protesting the kingdom’s authoritarian monarchy and illegal weapons possession will likely be beheaded and crucified after a court dismissed his final appeal.

The Irish Independent reports Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, now 20, was arrested in February 2012 and charged with “waging war on God” and having an illegal gun.

After a court was unable to prove any of the charges against him, al-Nimr signed a confession that the British human rights group Reprieve claims was coerced under torture. Reprieve believes al-Nimr was targeted because his uncle, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, is a well-known critic of the Saudi regime. The elder al-Nimr is scheduled to be executed and crucified later this week.

“No one should have to go through the ordeal Ali has suffered—torture, forced ‘confession’ and an unfair, secret trial process, resulting in a sentence of death by ‘crucifixion,'” Reprieve Director Maya Foa said in a statement.

Al Bawaba reports news of the imminent crucifixion has sparked social media efforts to #FreeNimr.

Crucifixion in Saudi Arabia consists of cutting off the condemned prisoner’s head, then tying the headless body to a cross. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s leading executioners and one of only three countries—the others are Iran and Sudan—that execute people for crimes committed when they were minors. The United States stopped sentencing children to death following the Supreme Court’s 2005Roper v. Simmons decision.

Among the crimes that can result in execution in Saudi Arabia, which is ruled under a particularly severe form of Islamic Sharia law, are: murder, rape, false prophecy, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy (renouncing Islam), adultery, homosexuality, witchcraft and sorcery. Executions are nearly always carried out by public beheading.

According to the global human rights group Amnesty International, the last time Saudi Arabia beheaded and crucified anyone was in 2013 when five Yemenis were executed for forming an armed gang, armed robbery and murder.

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