NGOs Urge Saudi King to Grant Clemency for Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr

27 October 2014 – Washington, D.C. – Today, 26 multi-faith organizations sent a letter to King Abdulla bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia urging him to pardon Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. The renowned Shia cleric and human rights defender was sentenced to death, and possible crucifixion, on 15 October by the Saudi Specialized Criminal Court. He was found guilty of vague charges, such as “breaking allegiance to the ruler” and “encouraging, leading and participating in demonstrations.” al-Nimr was shot in the leg during his arrest in 2012 and was subsequently denied medical treatment. He was detained for 8 months before he had his first hearing.

In the letter, the signatories urge King Abdulla to pardon Sheikh al-Nimr and drop all charges. They contended that it is important for Saudi Arabia, as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, to set an example for neighboring countries. The signatories also underscored that Sheikh al-Nimr is a peaceful activist who has never called for violence. This sentence, therefore, is in grave violation of freedom of expression, freedom of religious and political association, and freedom of assembly.

Please click here for a translation of this letter in Arabic