A Saudi prosecutor has demanded the death penalty for prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al - Nimr, who was arrested last year over calls for the release of political prisoners.
Local media reported on Wednesday that the prosecutor, whose name was not mentioned, accused Nimr of ‘aiding terrorists’ and ‘instigating unrest,’ and called for the execution of the Shia cleric. Sheikh Nimr was attacked, injured and arrested by Saudi security forces en route to his house in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province on July 8, 2012. The cleric had called for the release of all those detained in protests against the Saudi regime, and all the prisoners of conscience. His arrest sparked protests in Eastern Province. Nimr appeared in court earlier this week for the first time since July. His family members said he was badly tortured in jail. Nimr’s sister recently said that prison authorities were denying her brother medical care. According to Saudi activists, most of the detained political activists are being held by the regime without trial or charges. Since February 2011, demonstrators have held anti-regime protests on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in Qatif and the town of Awamiyah in Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination. Since November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in Eastern Province, the demonstrations have turned into protests against the Al Saud regime. According to Human Rights Watch, the Riyadh regime “routinely represses expression critical of the government.”