World Outrage As Saudi Arabia Beheads 47 For Terrorism Activities-Saudi Arabia has stirred a global outrage as the nation on Saturday executed 47 people who allegedly carried out terror onslaught or embark in illegal killing of security personnel.
At least 43 of those beheaded were convicted of terror attacks carried out over a decade ago and condemned to death while the other four victims including a vocal and prominent cleric Ayatollah Nimr al-Nimr, were accused of shooting policemen during anti-government protests.
The executions took place in 12 locations in the country with the victims hung on scaffolding making them to die in the most gruesome characteristics of the nation’s application of capital punishment and were simultaneously carried out as the 47 people were beheaded. The mass execution of judgement which took place on security grounds was the biggest for such offences in Saudi Arabia since the 1980 killing of 63 militant rebels who seized Makkah’s Grand Mosque in 1979.
The killing sparked-off outrage as violence erupted in many cities of the World in protest just minutes after the executions took place..
Iran led the league of protesters against the killing and its other allies with Shi’ite faith took to the street across the World immediately reacting.
Most condemned was the execution of religious activist and government critic, Nimr. Saudi authority beefed-up security in his home district where his followers are in a majority in order to forestall violent protests,. The World dreaded terror group, Al-Qaeda in a December statement earlier had warned of grave consequences if activists in Shi’ite faith were hanged or beheaded.
A source claimed the action was only to serve as deterrent to many terrors groups and to discourage Saudis from jihadism especially after the bombings and shootings by militants in Saudi Arabia over the past year. The interior ministry said the 47 men had been convicted of adopting the radical “takfiri” ideology, joining “terrorist organisations” and implementing various “criminal plots”. A list published by the official Saudi Press Agency included Sunni Muslims convicted of involvement in Al-Qaeda attacks that killed Saudi and foreigners in the kingdom in 2003 and 2004. One of those executed was Fares al-Shuwail, described by Saudi media as Al-Qaeda’s top religious leader in the kingdom.
However, the execution of four, including Nimr, who were convicted of shooting and petrol bomb attacks that killed several policemen during anti-government protests in Qatif district from 2011-13, provoked an immediate response abroad.
Yemen’s Houthi group leading a league nation of protesters described Nimr as a “holy warrior” and Lebanese militia Hezbollah said Saudi authorities had made gross miscalculation and “a grave mistake”.
Saudi police increased security in Qatif district of Eastern Province, residents said, site of the protests from 2011-13 which resulted in killing of several policemen as well as over 20 local demonstrators.
Bahrain police fired tear gas at several dozen people protesting against the execution of Nimr, a witness said. In a statement issued on state television and other official media, the Interior Ministry named the dead men and listed crimes that included both involvement in attacks and embracing jihadist ideology.
Mustafa Alani, a security analyst close to the Interior Ministry, commented: “There is a huge popular pressure on the government to punish those people. It included all the leaders of al-Qaeda, all the ones responsible for shedding blood. It sends a message.” Analysts have speculated that the execution of the four including Nimr was partly to demonstrate to Saudi Arabia’s majority Muslims that the government did not differentiate between political violence committed by members of the two sects.
Riyadh denies practising torture, rejects criticism of its legal process and says its judiciary is independent.
The conservative kingdom, which usually executes people by public beheading, detained thousands of militants after the 2003-06 al- Qaeda attacks, and has convicted hundreds of them. However, it also detained hundreds after protests from 2011-13, during which several policemen were killed in shooting and petrol bomb attacks.
At least three others were executed alongside Nimr, including Ali al-Rubh, who relatives said was a juvenile at the time of the crime for which he was convicted, Mohammad al-Shayoukh and Mohammad Suwaymil. Activists in the district of Qatif have warned of possible protests in response to the executions.
However, Nimr’s brother, Mohammad al-Nimr, said he hoped any response would be peaceful.
“My mobile is getting non-stop messages from friends, all shocked and angry. We know four of the names on the list. The fear is for the children among those detained,” an activist in Qatif told Reuters.
The Interior Ministry statement justified the use of execution and state television showed footage of the aftermath of al-Qaeda attacks in the last decade.
Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh appeared on television soon after to describe the executions as just. For Nimr and his companions he said executions were mercy as they were saved from committing further sins.
The executions are Saudi Arabia’s first in 2016. At least 157 people were put to death last year, a big increase from the 90 people killed in 2014.
Meanwhile, Iran summoned Saudi Arabia’s charge d’affaires in Tehran to protest the execution of Nimr al-Nimr, Iranian state television said.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei added his voice to a chorus of condemnation by tweeting a tribute to Nimr. Seminary students marched through the Iranian holy city of Qom to protest against execution of Nimr, the Mehr news agency said. Mehr showed a photograph of dozens of men, some of them in the robes and turbans, marching through the seminary city holding up pictures of the dissident Saudi cleric.
Prominent Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for demonstrations in Gulf countries and in Iraq to protest the execution of Sheikh Nimr.
A German foreign ministry official expressed concern about the execution and reaffirmed the country’s view that the death penalty is an inhumane form of punishment.
In India, hundreds demonstrated in the Muslim-majority northern province of Kashmir, where one protest organiser said the charges against Nimr were “baseless”.
Amnesty International UK’s Shane Enright told the Press Association that the death penalty was ‘unacceptable in all circumstances’ and it was particularly concerned many of the so called dissidents had been executed unjustly and their trial flawed. It points to the trial of sheikh al-Nimr as being particularly flawed.
Speaking at the scene of the demonstration, he said a recent Amnesty report concluded that the trial against him was ‘deeply flawed’, adding: ‘We also came to the conclusion that he was jailed solely for expressing his peaceful points of view, protesting peacefully against the regimes.
‘This is an absolute, fundamental, breach of basic human rights,’ Mr Enright said.
al-Nimr’s execution sparked fierce criticism from Shiite communities in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Another victim of the mass execution was Adel al-Dhubaiti, the al-Qaeda gunman convicted for the attempted assassination of BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner and the murder of his cameraman Simon Cumbers.
Mr Gardner was shot six times and left paralysed whilst he was filming a report with Simon Cumbers in June 2004. He was offered the chance to meet al-Dhubaiti when he was sentenced in 2014 but declined.
Hundreds of Shi’ite Muslims marched through the Qatif district of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province in protest, which was closely watched by security forces with tensions also mounting on the streets of neighbouring Bahrain.
The Qatif protesters chanted ‘down with the Al Saud’, the name of the ruling Saudi royal family, leading to call in of dozens of Saudi military reinforcements being called into Qatif. Images have emerged on social media of a bus burning, reportedly in Qatif as the protests escalated tonight.
Protesters in Bahrain were met with tear gas as they clashed with security forces in the suburbs while hundreds demonstrated in Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Karbala.
In London, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Saudi embassy to express their anger about the executions.
Angry crowds of Iranian protesters hurled petrol bombs and stormed the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran late tonight in reaction to Saudi Arabia’s decision to execute a top Shiite cleric along with 46 other prisoners.
None of the Saudi embassy staff were inside the building as protesters broke into the building and took out their anger on the offices. Photos have been emerging on social media showing demonstrators damaging embassy property, including removing the national flag from the building.
Shiite leaders from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon have fiercely condemned the executions of al-Nimr, who was a driving force of the protests that broke out in 2011 in the Sunni-ruled kingdom’s east, where the Shiite minority complains of marginalisation.
THE 47 MEN WHO WERE EXECUTED BY SAUDI ARABIA
1- Ameen Mohammed Abdullah Al Aqala – Saudi national.
2- Anwar Abdulrahman Khalil Al-Najjar – Saudi national.
3- Badr bin Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Badr- Saudi national.
4- Bandar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Ghaith – Saudi nationality.
5- Hassan Hadi bin Shuja’a Al-Masareer – Saudi nationality.
6- Hamad bin Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al-Humaidi- Saudi nationality
7- Khalid Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Jarallah – Saudi nationality
8- Ridha Abdulrahman Khalil Al-Najjar- Saudi nationality
9- Saad Salamah Hameer – Saudi nationality
10- Salah bin Saeed bin Abdulraheem Al-Najjar – Saudi nationality
11- Salah bin Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Al Hussain -Saudi nationality
12- Saleh bin Abdulrahman bin Ibrahim Al-Shamsan – Saudi nationality
13- Saleh bin Ali bin Saleh Al-Juma’ah – Saudi nationality
14- Adel bin Saad bin Jaza’ Al-Dhubaiti – Saudi nationality
15- Adel Mohammed Salem Abdullah Yamani – Saudi nationality
16- Abduljabbar bin Homood bin Abdulaziz Al-Tuwaijri – Saudi nationality
17- Abdulrahman Dhakheel Faleh Al-Faleh – Saudi nationality
18- Abdullah Sayer Moawadh Massad Al-Mohammadi – Saudi nationality
19- Abdullah bin Saad bin Mozher Shareef – Saudi nationality
20- Abdullah Saleh Abdulaziz Al-Ansari – Saudi nationality
21- Abdullah Abdulaziz Ahmed Al-Muqrin – Saudi nationality
22- Abdullah Musalem Hameed Al-Raheef – Saudi nationality
23- Abdullah bin Mua’ala bin A’li – Saudi nationality
24- Abdulaziz Rasheed bin Hamdan Al-Toaili’e – Saudi nationality
25- Abdulmohsen Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Yahya – Saudi nationality
26- Isam Khalaf Mohammed Al-Mothri’e – Saudi nationality
27- Ali Saeed Abdullah Al Ribeh – Saudi nationality
28- Ghazi Mohaisen Rashed – Saudi nationality
29- Faris Ahmed Jama’an Al Showail – Saudi nationality
30- Fikri Ali bin Yahya Faqih – Saudi nationality
31- Fahd bin Ahmed bin Hanash Al Zamel – Saudi nationality
32- Fahd Abdulrahman Ahmed Al-Buraidi – Saudi nationality
33- Fahd Ali Ayedh Al Jubran – Saudi nationality
34- Majed Ibrahim Ali Al-Mughainem – Saudi nationality
35- Majed Moeedh Rashed – Saudi nationality
36- Mishaal bin Homood bin Juwair Al-Farraj – Saudi nationality
37- Mohammed Abdulaziz Mohammed Al-Muharib – Saudi nationality
38- Mohammed Ali Abdulkarim Suwaymil – Saudi nationality
39- Mohammed Fathi Abula’ti Al-Sayed – Egyptian nationality
40- Mohammed bin Faisal bin Mohammed Al-Shioukh – Saudi nationality
41- Mostafa Mohammed Altaher Abkar – Chadian nationality
42- Moaidh Mufreh Ali Al Shokr- Saudi nationality
43- Nasser Ali Ayedh Al Jubran – Saudi nationality
44- Naif Saad Abdullah Al-Buraidi – Saudi nationality
45- Najeeb bin abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Bohaiji – Saudi nationality
46- Nimr Baqer Ameen Al-Nimr- Saudi nationality
47- Nimr Sehaj Zeid Al-Kraizi – Saudi nationality