20 November 2015 — Washington, DC — Today, a collection of 17 organizations and two individuals working on behalf of human rights and international religious freedom sent a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to press Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to halt the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr and several other demonstrators from the country’s marginalized Eastern Province. On 24 October 2015, the Saudi Supreme Court ratified the sentence of death issued to Sheikh Nimr in October 2014; since September, the Saudi criminal justice system has also ratified the death sentences of Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon, and Abdullah al-Zaher, three men arrested as minors in 2012 for their protest activity.
Stating that many of the charges on which the men were convicted are unrecognized by international law, the signatories referred to the trials of Sheikh Nimr and the others as “grossly unfair” due to ongoing and credible allegations of torture and lack of due process. Furthermore, in sentencing Sheikh Nimr, the Specialized Criminal Court, Saudi Arabia’s terrorism tribunal, considered sermons made by the cleric as evidence against him, despite independent analysis confirming that Sheikh Nimr did not incite others to violence in his preaching.
The letter ends by urging Sec. Kerry to leverage his “close relationship with King Salman to press him to grant Sheikh al-Nimr access to any medical attention that he requires, commute his death sentence, as well as those of Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon, and Abdullah al-Zaher, and order a fair trial for each of them.”
Click here to read a PDF of the letter.
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
Center for Inquiry (CFI)
European Center for Democracy & Human Rights (ECDHR)
European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR)
Human Rights Foundation
Human Rights Watch
Hindu American Foundation (HAF)
International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF)
Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (MHRSA)
Muslim Public Affairs Council
PEN American Center
Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
Shia Rights Watch (SRW)
Dr. Toby Matthiesen, Senior Research Fellow in International Relations of the Middle East at the University of Oxford
William C. Walsh, Partner, Bisceglie and Walsh