Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 for taking part in pro-democracy protests in Saudi Arabia when he was just 17 years old and was sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion on 27 May 2014.
Experts, including the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns said imposing the death penalty on someone who was a child at the time of offending and after allegations of torture was “incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations”.
Jason McCrossan spoke to @Reprieve spokesperson Kate Higham who explains exactly what happened to Ali and what action needs to be taken now to save his life.
A Saudi Arabian activist has had his death sentence by beheading and crucifixion for alleged participation in anti-government protests. The offenses he “confessed” to had taken place when he was 17 years old. He has exhausted his appeals and may be executed as soon as the King ratifies the sentence.
Ali al-Nimr was sentenced to death on 27 May 2014. The sentence has now been upheld by appeal judges at the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) and by the Supreme Court, according to his family, who have only just learned of the courts’ decisions. The case was sent
to the Ministry of Interior in August 2015 for the sentence to be implemented. He is liable to be executed as soon as the
King has ratified the sentence.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most prolific executioners in the world, putting more than 2,200 people to death between 1985 and 2015. Between January and the end of August 2015, it executed at least 130 people, almost half of them for offences that do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes” for which the death penalty can be imposed under international
Saudi Arabia also sentences people to death, and executes them, for crimes committed when they were below 18 years
of age, in violation of the country’s obligations under customary international law and the Convention on the Rights of the
Ali al-Nimr had been arrested on 14 February 2012, when he was 17 years old, and taken to the General Directorate of
Investigations (GDI) prison in Dammam, in the Eastern Province. He was not allowed to see his lawyer and has said that
GDI officers tortured him to make him sign a “confession”. He was then taken to a centre for juvenile rehabilitation, Dar alMulahaza, and was returned to the GDI prison in Dammam when he turned 18.
Ali al-Nimr is the nephew of a prominent Shi’a cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, from al-Awamiyya in Qatif, eastern Saudi
Arabia, who was sentenced to death by the Specialized Criminal Court on 15 October 2014.