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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

20 Year Old Sentenced to Beheading and Crucifixion in Saudi Arabia

After losing his final appeal, a young Saudi Arabian activist is due to be executed in Saudi Arabia, followed by the appalling mounting of his headless body on a crucifix for public display.

While news like this is not uncommon in Saudi Arabia, human rights’ groups and Saudi critics are shocked by the nature of the execution as well as the weak case made against Ali Mohammad al Nimr.

Ali Mohammed Al Nimr - sentenced to beheading and crucifixion
Accused of participation in anti-government demonstrations and possessing firearms, Al Nimr was arrested in 2012 at the age of seventeen in the largely Shia province of Qatif. Although Al Nimr repeatedly denied the latter charge, a confession was allegedly forced out of him after his arrest by means of torture.

Al Nimr spent a short time in a juvenile detention facility, from where he was moved to prison when he turned 18 and sentenced to death in 2014 according to Amnesty International.

Condemning the sentence, Maya Foa of the legal charity Reprieve said in a statement: “Ali was a vulnerable child when he was arrested and this ordeal began.

“His execution—based apparently on the authorities’ dislike for his uncle, and his involvement in anti-government protests—would violate international law and the most basic standards of decency. It must be stopped.”

US talk show host Bill Maher highlighted Al Nimr’s case on television saying:  “If you haven’t used up all your heroism hashtagging for the clock kid, maybe do it for this guy,” referring to the recent case of a Muslim kid getting arrested for inventing a clock.

Many have taken to the social media to condemn Al Nimr’s sentence and the recent appointment of Saudi Arabian ambassador to lead an influential human rights panel has also come under heavy criticism.

H E Faisal bin Hassan Trad presents his credentials to Michael Møller (right),
 the Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.
January 7, 2014. PHOTO: UN
Saudi Ambassador to UN to lead Human Rights panel

The United Nations has come under criticism over giving a key human rights role to Saudi Arabia despite the Kingdom’s notorious record on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents.

Critics remarked the appointment is “scandalous”, observing it meant “oil trumps human rights.”

Ensaf Haidar, the wife of imprisoned liberal blogger Raif Badawi, said on her Facebook that handing the key role of a human right to Faisal bin Hassan Trad was but “a green light to start flogging [Raif] again.”

Raif Badawi
sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes
in 2013, then resentenced to 1,000 lashes and
ten years in prison plus a fine in 2014,
and upheld by the Supreme Court June 2015
Trad is Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the United Nations in Geneva, who has been elected as chair of a panel of independent experts on the United Nations Human Rights Council, an NGO named UN watch discovered.

The Saudi Ambassador will now be able to select applicants from around the world for legion of experts hailing from countries where the UN has mandate on human rights.

The UN body for promoting human rights around the world has long been the subject of criticism because it granted membership to various countries that had dubious human rights records.

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said selection made in June remained unreported until now. He said that it may have been a consolation prize for the Saudis after withdrew their bid to head the 47-nation council in the wake of international condemnation of the kingdom’s human rights record.

Neuer described the selection as scandalous and said, “Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights, and continues to imprison the innocent blogger Raif Badawi.

While Saudi Arabia enjoys some considerable influence in the world, and some degree of respect by other countries, it is only because they have vast oil reserves and hence, are very rich. But being rich doesn't automatically bring a society out of the middle ages and into civilization. The Saudis are still primitive barbarians and Islam contributes greatly to keeping this society brutal and backward.