Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was sentenced to death by crucifixion in 2014. With Saudi Arabia dismissing his final appeal, there is no further legal course of action al-Nimr can take to fight the sentence.
Al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 when he was only 17-years-old, and was accused of participating in anti-government protests and illegally possessing firearms.
Human rights organizations say that al-Nimr's harsh sentence may be related to the fact that his uncle, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, is a prominent religious leader in the kingdom and a staunch critic of the Saudi regime. His uncle was also sentenced to death by crucifixion on charges of "insulting the king" and disrupting 'national unity' by delivering his religious sermons.
Activists defending al-Nimr fear that his execution could take place any day now, since his uncle is scheduled to be executed today. Evidence indicates that al-Nimr has been denied access to his lawyers, tortured, and forced to sign a confession while under threat.
Human rights organizations say that the charge of possessing illegal firearms is totally unsubstantiated, with no evidence to support such a charge. Al-Nimr and his family also deny the charges against the young man.
What's more, al-Nimr's trial failed to meet international standards for a fair trial, and his final appeal was held in secret - al-Nimr did not even know about it.
"No one should have to go through the ordeal Ali has suffered—torture, forced ‘confession’, and an unfair, secret trial process," said Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at the legal charity and human rights organization Reprieve. "Ali was a vulnerable child when he was arrested and this ordeal began."
"His execution," Foa continued, "—based apparently on the authorities’ dislike for his uncle, and his involvement in anti-government protests—would violate international law and the most basic standards of decency. It must be stopped."
Reprieve has urged the European Union to intervene with the Saudi kingdom to prevent the execution of al-Nimr, who was sentenced when he was still just a child. The NGO turned to the European Union for help since places like Britain conduct a great deal of business with Saudi Arabia.
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