If Saudi Arabia included a video of the executions of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and the 46 other people they killed on Saturday, it would have nothing short of a Daesh Takfiri terrorist propaganda video. The macabre simile was uttered by the Independent’s Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk.
“All that was missing was the video of the decapitations – although the Kingdom’s 158 beheadings last year were perfectly in tune with the Wahhabi teachings of Daesh,” said Fisk.
Daesh has on multiple occasions released footage portraying elaborate mass executions of hostages.
Fisk noted that the recent flood of beheadings are “certainly an unprecedented Saudi way of welcoming in the New Year.”
Following the execution, authorities refused to hand over the cleric’s remains and buried them at an undisclosed cemetery, according to the Sheikh’s brother, Mohamed Nimr.
He said that the family intended to bury Nimr in his home town, Qatif.
Following the announcement of Nimr’s execution, the US State Department voiced concerns over execution of the Shia cleric, saying it may exacerbate sectarian tensions.
Spokesman John Kirby called on Riyadh to “redouble efforts” to de-escalate regional tensions, urging the monarchy to respect and protect human rights.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also decried the move, stating that, “Violating human rights…leads to repercussions on the security, stability and the social fabric of the peoples of the region.”
In a post published on his official Facebook account, the Iraqi prime minister expressed “intense shock” over the killing and said such acts “would lead to nothing but more destruction.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari also denounced the execution as deeply irresponsible.
“The execution of a personality such as Sheikh Nimr who had no means other than speech to pursue his political and religious objectives only shows the depth of imprudence and irresponsibility,” he said.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry showed a stronger reaction by summoning the deputy head of the Saudi mission in Tehran to convey the Islamic Republic’s objection.
In a similar response, Riyadh called Iran’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Hossein Sadeqi and protested Tehran’s “aggressive” stance on Nimr’s execution.
Meanwhile, the Saudi move drew criticism from Germany’s Foreign Ministry and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
Tehran’s call for calm amid public outrage
Muslims and human rights activists joined forces all over the world to protest Nimr’s killing.
People gathered outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran and outside the Saudi consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad to show their anger.
According to reports, a number of protesters threw incendiary devices at the buildings causing minor damage. Police forces, deployed to keep order, dispersed the angry crowds and made several arrests.
Following the incident, Iran’s foreign ministry called on people to refrain from gathering outside Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic buildings.
While stressing that the foreign ministry understands the nation’s feelings over the incident, Jaberi Ansari said Iran’s diplomatic police are responsible for dealing with any disturbance on Riyadh’s diplomatic locations and will act in accordance to this responsibility.
On Saturday, a protest was held in the cleric’s home town of al-Awamiya in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province with participants chanting, “Down with the Al Saud.”
Protests also broke out in Germany, the UK, Bahrain, Pakistan, Iraq, and Indian-administered Kashmir.
With Riyadh being under fire over a grim human rights record, the new move comes as no “surprise” to peace activists.
“Saudi Arabia is run by one of the most corrupt and despotic families in the history of the world. These are people who will stop at nothing to try to preserve their billions and billions dollars which they have stolen from the people of Arabia and deposited in Swiss bank accounts,” Dr. Kevin Barrett, a founding member of the Scientific Panel for the Investigation of 9/11, told Press TV in a Saturday interview.
“These people are organized crime figures and calling it Saudi Arabia is an insult to the people of Arabia. That would be like naming the United States after its ruling crime family and calling it Bushy America,” he added.
Gruesome executions have not stopped the Saudis’ Western allies from maintaining ties with the monarchy despite claims of support for human rights.
Last October, British Prime Minster David Cameron defended a secret deal with Riyadh, which drew condemnation from British media.
During an interview with the UK’s Channel 4, Cameron suggested that London’s “relationship” with the country supersedes its human rights record.
In an apparent move to make it difficult for London to condemn Nimr’s execution, Saudis have killed murderer of a BBC cameraman among the 47.
“The BBC understands that among those executed was a man convicted of shooting dead a freelance cameraman on an assignment for the BBC, Simon Cumbers, in 2004.” said the state-funded network.
Sheikh Nimr, a critic of the Riyadh regime, was shot by Saudi police and arrested in 2012 in Qatif, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time.
He was charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom’s security, making anti-government speeches and defending political prisoners. He had rejected all the charges as baseless
In 2014, a Saudi court sentenced Nimr to death, provoking widespread global condemnations. The sentence was upheld last March by the appeal court of Saudi Arabia.
By Press TV