Father of Saudi facing execution asks king for clemency
The father of a Saudi youth facing execution for taking part in pro-reform protests appealed to King Salman on Wednesday to spare his life.
In an interview with AFP, Mohammed al-Nimr said he hoped the king would save his son, Ali, who was only 17 when he was arrested in February 2012.
The case has attracted worldwide attention.
US talk show host Bill Maher raised al-Nimr’s situation on television a few days ago, encouraging viewers to stop focusing only on 14-year-old American Muslim, Ahmed Mohamed, who was arrested for bringing a clock to school and instead show some concern for the Saudi who’s going to be crucified for attending a protest.
"We hope that the king will not sign" the execution order, Nimr said, after Saudi Arabia's highest court confirmed the death sentence, leaving his son's fate in the hands of the king.
Nimr warned that if his son is put to death the minority Shia community could react violently, something he does not want to happen.
"We don't need that; we don't need even one drop of blood," he said.
The youth is a nephew of Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia religious leader who is also on death row.
Nimr al-Nimr was a driving force behind demonstrations that began four years ago in Eastern Province, where most of Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia's Shias live.
Ali al-Nimr's father admitted that his son, then a high school student, had joined thousands of other people in protest.
But he said he is innocent of numerous other charges including burglary, attacking police and using a Molotov cocktail.