Raising fears of renewed sectarian tensions in the region, Saudi Arabia’s top court has sentenced a charismatic opposition leader to death for speaking out against the kingdom’s ruling family.
Nimr Baqer al-Nimr, a reformist cleric, has repeatedly called for an end to corruption and discrimination against minorities. He has a wide following, particularly among young people in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, home to most of the country’s minority Shiites, who are considered heretics by the Sunni-ruled government.
After being imprisoned for nearly two years, al-Nimr appeared in Riyadh’s Specialized Criminal Court Wednesday with his lawyer and two brothers. Charged with terrorism offences and “breaking allegiance to the king,” the judge upheld the country’s harshest sentence — “crucifixion” — where the decapitated body is publicly displayed. His brothers were reportedly detained after the sentencing.Related Link: "The Savage Lands of Islam" at the Sultan Knish blog.