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Executed Shia cleric was terror convict: Saudi Arabia

Executed Shia cleric was terror convict: Saudi Arabia

New Delhi: Nimr Al-Nimr, the Shia cleric who was among the 47 people executed on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, was a terrorism convict who was “involved in attacks against security personnel and police stations that led to the killing of innocents," the Saudi embassy here said on Thursday.

"All 47 people executed were terrorism convicts, mostly Al Qaeda affliates, according to the Saudi interior ministry," the embassy said in a statement, adding Nimr was also accused of other things.

According to the embassy statement, the executions reflected Saudi Arabia’s determination to combat terror and come just weeks after the country's initiative to form an Islamic military alliance against terror.

"Nimr Al-Nimr and a leading Al Qaeda figure, Faris Al-Shuwail, were among those executed," it added.

The statement was issued following reports in the Indian media from which, according to the embassy, "many wrong inferences and conclusions" have been drawn and have led to "misinformed and misleading commentaries and editorials" in some of the Indian media.

The execution of Nimr Al-Nimr, a Saudi national, has created a volatile situation in the Middle East with the Saudi missions in Iran coming under attack and Riyadh cutting off diplomatic ties with Shia-majority Tehran. In India too, there have been reports of protests by Shias, the sect of Islam to which Nimr Al-Nimr belonged.

According to the embassy statement, Nimr Al-Nimr "was involved in inciting people, recruiting people and providing weapons to people".

"He was involved in attacks against security personnel and police stations that led to the killing of innocents."

It also stated all the executed had received an open and fair trial that had been through the court of appeal, and reviewed by the country's Supreme Court.

"Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh, the country’s highest religious and spiritual authority, described the executions as just. Many other senior Muslim scholars have done so,” the embassy said.

As for the attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and consulate in Masshad, it said the Iranian reaction to the implementation of the court rulings in Saudi Arabia and the execution of convicted terrorists was “a flagrant act that violated the international law and represented complete disregard to diplomatic conventions concerning protection of diplomatic missions”.

“This behaviour goes well with Iran’s record in attacking embassies and plotting against the lives of diplomats. Iran has no special right to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries, and its declared hostilities towards its neighbors is the main source of sectarianism, terrorism and instability in the region.”

It cited a joint press conference held by the Saudi interior and justice ministries, at which it was announced that “the terrorists were executed for their actions and not for their affiliations”.

“The executions were carried out inside prisons across the kingdom. There were no photos or video footage of the executions as it is prohibited by law.”

It cited interior ministry spokesman Mansour Al-Turki as saying that Saudi Arabia condemned all forms of terrorism and considered these acts as the worst kind of corruption.

“Security forces will waste no effort in combating anyone involved with these terrorist groups,” he was quoted as saying.

According to the embassy statement, a special court to handle terror-related actions in Saudi Arabia was established in 2008 and has dealt with 2,225 cases involving 6,122 suspects.

“Of the 55 death sentences awarded by the court since that time, four were overturned upon appeal. There are currently 179 individuals whose cases are still open,” it stated.

“The kingdom follows the Sharia and rejects any outside interference in our judicial system,” it quoted Al-Turki as saying.

According to the statement, 163 people have been acquitted of all charges by the court and have been given monetary compensation.

“Saudi suspects are given legal representation upon their request at government expense. For any non-Saudi suspects or victims, their embassy is always involved in the court proceedings,” it added.

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