A SAUDI Arabian court sentenced Shia cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr to death today, setting what his family described as “a dangerous precedent.”
Mr Nimr was accused of “sedition” because of his vocal support for Bahrain’s 2011 Shia uprising, which was violently suppressed by the Saudi armed forces.
He did not deny the political charges but insisted he had never carried weapons or called for violent resistance to Saudi Arabia’s fundamentalist Sunni monarchy.
But unmoved prosecutors called for “execution followed by crucifixion.”
Defence lawyers were unable to cross-examine prosecution witnesses as they were not told when the hearing involving them took place.
Two of Mr Nimr’s brothers were arrested after the trial — Mohammed al-Nimr, who announced the verdict on Twitter, and Jaafar al-Nimr, who was detained after going to police to ask what had happened to Mohammed.
Saudi activist Jaafar al-Shayeb said the verdict might spark unrest in parts of eastern Saudi Arabia populated by Shias.