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SAUDI ARABIA EXECUTES 47 ON TERROISM CHARGES


Saudi Arabia's interior ministry says it has executed 47 "terrorists", including Shia religious leader Nimr al-Nimr and a convicted al-Qaeda leader Faris al-Zahrani.
In a press statement read out on state TV on Saturday, the Saudi ministry listed the names of all those it said were already convicted on charges of terrorism.
The executions led to protests in a number of countries on Saturday, including Iran - where demonstrators broke into the Saudi embassy and started fires.
The death sentence given to Nimr al-Nimr, who led anti-government protests in the country's east, was confirmed by the Supreme Court in October.
  • Faris al-Zahrani had been in custody ever since his detention near the Yemeni border in 2004.
  • He was convicted of sedition, disobedience and bearing arms. Nimr did not deny the political charges against him, but said he never carried weapons or called for violence.
  • Many of the other men executed had been linked to attacks in the kingdom between 2003 and 2006, blamed on al-Qaeda.
  • Zahrani, described by Saudi media as al-Qaeda's top religious leader in the kingdom, was one of them.
  • He was detained in 2004 while allegedly in possession of weapons.
  • An Egyptian citizen and a Chadian citizen were also among the executed, the ministry said. The rest were all Saudis.
  • Reuters news agency reported four of those executed were Shia.
Saudi Ministry of Justice spokesman Mansour al-Qufari said: "The judiciary is objective and we deal objectively with the cases on merit.
"There is no difference between what a person does regardless of his ethnic origin or affiliation, or what he believes. We deal with facts and criminal intent."
Some were beheaded while others were shot by firing squad, Mansur al-Turki, Saudi interior ministry spokesman, said.
  • Notably absent from the list was Nimr's nephew, Ali. He was arrested at the age of 17.

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