Who Is Ali Mohammad Baqir Al-Nimr? Saudi Arabian Pro-Democracy Activist Could Be Crucified Soon
"A Saudi man accused of participating in demonstrations against the government and inciting others to do the same could be beheaded and crucified any day by the country's authorities. Ali Mohammad Baqir al-Nimr, 21, was sentenced for crimes he allegedly committed when he was 17 years old, and his case has been lambasted as "deeply flawed" and unjust by human rights activists and organizations."
"He is the nephew of a popular Shiite reformist cleric, Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who also was sentenced recently to death for his criticisms of corruption and discrimination against minority groups in the Saudi kingdom."
"Activists and relatives say Sheikh Nimr, who has a wide following among Shia in Eastern Province and other states, supported only peaceful protests and eschewed all violent opposition to the government.
In 2011, he told the BBC that he supported "the roar of the word against authorities rather than weapons... the weapon of the word is stronger than bullets, because authorities will profit from a battle of weapons".
His arrest prompted days of protests in which three people were killed. Human Rights Watch said more than 1,040 people had been arrested at Shia protests between February 2011 and August 2014. At least 240 are still believed to be in detention.
"I think the message that Saudis are saying is: 'We will arrest anybody. We don't care how high profile they are... nobody is above this. We don't have any tolerance. We don't have any flexibility,'" HRW Middle East researcher Adam Coogle told AP after Sheikh Nimr's sentencing."
What "Heading the Human Rights Council at the UN" means:
Despite Saudi Arabia possessing "arguably the worst record in the world" in terms of women's rights and dissidents, on September 17 the kingdom was chosen to lead a powerful five-member group of ambassadors, according to CNN.
Dubbed the Consultative Group, the powerful group has the mandate to select applicants for more than 77 positions in regards to country-specific and thematic human rights mandates, documents published by the UNHRC state.
"These appointments represent important work; the mandates help set the norms about how the world can enhance respect for, and protection and fulfillment of human rights, and how that should be at the core of every action. But changes are gradual. A special rapporteur on violence against women, for example, may produce path-breaking research and offer advice on how states can stop that, but states are under no legal obligations to implement those recommendations. If a special rapporteur criticizes a particular country's conduct against minorities, the country can brazen it out—it can even deny the rapporteur the right to visit the country to undertake investigations. As important the mandates are, they are toothless. And that is because the member-states want it that way, just as it is the member-states which want Saudi Arabia to be in the consultative group and in the UNHRC."
QUESTION: Yesterday, Saudi Arabia was named to head the Human Rights Council, and today I think they announced they are about to behead a 21-year-old Shia activist named Muhammed al-Nimr. Are you aware of that?
MR. TONER: I'm not aware of the trial that you—or the verdict—death sentence.
QUESTION: Well, apparently, he was arrested when [he] was 17 years old and kept in juvenile detention, then moved on. And now, he's been scheduled to be executed.
MR. TONER: Right. I mean, we've talked about our concerns about some of the capital punishment cases in Saudi Arabia in our Human Rights Report, but I don't have any more to add to it.
QUESTION: So you—
QUESTION: Well, how about a reaction to them heading the council?
MR. TONER: Again, I don't have any comment, don't have any reaction to it. I mean, frankly, it's—we would welcome it. We're close allies. If we—
QUESTION: Do you think that they're an appropriate choice given—I mean, how many pages is—does Saudi Arabia get in the Human Rights Report annually?
MR. TONER: I can't give that off the top of my head, Matt.
QUESTION: I can't either, but let's just say that there's a lot to write about Saudi Arabia and human rights in that report. I'm just wondering if you [think] that it's appropriate for them to have a leadership position.
MR. TONER: We have a strong dialogue, obviously a partnership with Saudi Arabia that spans, obviously, many issues. We talk about human-rights concerns with them. As to this leadership role, we hope that it's an occasion for them to look at human rights around the world but also within their own borders.
Mr Corbyn also raised questions about a Ministry of Justice bid to provide services to Saudi prisons.
He referenced reports Justice Secretary Michael Gove wanted to withdraw the bid but was "blocked" by "other departments".
And he wrote: "Will you step in to terminate the Ministry of Justice's bid to provide services to the Saudi prisons system - the very body, I should stress, which will be responsible for carrying out Ali's execution?"
This job posting may have expired, but as of May 18, 2015, Saudi Arabia was hiring 8 new executioners
"Saudi Arabia is advertising for eight new executioners, in a recruitment drive which leading human rights charity Amnesty International has warned is symptomatic of an "unprecedented spike" of judicial killings in the country.
An advert for the position, posted on the country's civil service jobs website, states that no specific qualifications are required for the brutal role which involves "executing a judgement of death" and performing amputations on those convicted of less serious crimes.
The application form describes the executioners as "religious functionaries" and says that recruits would be at the lower end of the civil service pay scale."
A mere 3 days after this job posting, it was reported that they began their bid to head the UN Human Rights Counsel
"Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to make a bid to head the United Nations' Human Rights Council, in a move that has been described as the "final nail in the coffin for the credibility" of the HRC.
Reports of the bid come just days after Saudi Arabia posted a job advertisement for eight new executioners. This year it has already put 85 people to death in what has been branded by Amnesty International a "macabre spike" from the 87 people it killed in total last year."