Saudi father pleads with King to save son

  • 24/09/2015
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (Reuters)
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (Reuters)

The father of a Saudi man facing execution for taking part in pro-reform protests has appealed to King Salman to spare his son's life.

The sentence against Ali al-Nimr, only 17 when he was arrested in February 2012, has drawn international condemnation over his young age at the time and allegations that he was tortured into making a confession.

In an interview with AFP on Wednesday (local time), Mohammed al-Nimr said he hoped the king would save his son.

"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 Shi'ite 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 Shi'ite religious leader who is also on death row.

Mohammed al-Nimr, a Dammam businessman, was in Riyadh to visit his jailed brother for the Muslim feast of sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, which falls on Thursday.

Nimr al-Nimr was a driving force behind demonstrations that began four years ago in Eastern Province.

Most of Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia's Shi'ites live in the east, and have complained of marginalisation.

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.