Sheikh Nimr

Saudi Arabia faces condemnation for executing the leader of its Shia minority

Sheikh Nimr Baqer al-Nimr, 56, was put to death at a time of rising of tensions between the Middle East’s Shia and Sunni.

Turbaned Ayatollah Nimr Baqer al-Nimr was known for speaking his mind, even at the risk of his own liberty and life.

“Either we live in this land as free men or die and be buried in it as pious men,” Sheikh al-Nimr, Saudi Arabia’s most prominent Shia cleric, said in a 2011 sermon that brought him international attention. “We have no other choice.”

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia executed the 56-year-old cleric along with 46 others convicted of various terrorism and security charges.

Most of those put to death were alleged members of jihadi groups and masterminds of terrorist plots a decade ago, as well as Faris al-Shuwail, described as an Al Qaeda “ideologue.”

مسيرة حاشدة في تم قمعها قبل قليل