Germany 'concerned' over Saudi execution of Shiite cleric

German Foreign Ministry official expresses concern over execution in Saudi Arabia of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and says death penalty is inhumane form of punishment

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A protester in Yemen taking part in a demonstration outside the Saudi embassy against the death sentence on Saudi Shiite cleric and anti-government protest leader, Nimr al-Nimr (portrait)

Germany is deeply concerned about the Saudi execution of Shiite cleric, said a German foreign ministry official on Saturday and added that the death penalty is an inhumane form of punishment.

"The execution of Nimr al-Nimr strengthens our existing concerns about increasing tensions and deepening rifts in the region," said the official.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday executed 47 people for ‘terrorism’, mostly suspected Al Qaeda members, but also a prominent Shiite cleric, Nimr al Nimr, the Interior Ministry said in a statement broadcasted on state television.

Nimr was accused of his involvement in shooting policemen. 

Execution could damage Saudi-Iraq relations

Saudi Arabia's execution of a Shiite Muslim cleric has increased tension and Shiite politicians, militias and a top cleric called Iraq to cut its ties with Saudi Arabia.

Prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said in a statement, "I urge the government to refrain from opening the Saudi embassy," and called demonstrations in Iraq and across the Gulf to protest the Saudi execution.

Senior Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. (AFP)

Saudi Arabia for the first time reopened its embassy in Baghdad this week after suspending relations with Iraq during Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Iranian-linked militia Asaib Ahl al-Haq accused Saudi Arabia in a statement and said, "What is the use of having a Saudi embassy in Iraq?"

Qassim al-Araji, a leader of the Badr Organisation, another Iranian-backed militia group with a political wing, urged Iraqi authorities to cut diplomatic relations "immediately."

He described Nimr's execution as "opened the gates of hell", on his group's television channel, al-Ghadeer.

During the protests between 2011 and 2013, Saudi Arabia detained hundreds of members of its Shiite minority which were accused of killing several policemen and organising petrol bomb attacks.

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia also detained thousands of terror suspects after a series of Al Qaeda attacks between 2003-06 that killed hundreds.

The interior minister named the 47 men and listed crimes that included both involvement in attacks and so-called radicalised ideology.

At least three other Shiites were executed alongside Nimr, including Ali al Rubh, who relatives claimed was a juvenile at the time of the alleged incident.

TRTWorld and agencies