While expressing any form of dissent or differing opinion freely is becoming increasingly dangerous across the world, in Saudi the consequences of speaking against the regime can be drastic. After the flogging of a blogger who wrote against the government and bigotry, BBC reported that a young blogger is facing execution by crucifixion for talking against the government.
The 20-year-old Ali Mohammed Al Nimr is accused of taking part in anti-government protests, in Saudi Arabia’s eastern part dominated by a Shia minority. His alleged role in the protests during “Saudi’s secret uprising” led to Nimr’s arrest in 2012, and he was charged with a long list of crimes including sedition, breaking allegiance to the king and rioting.
On being found guilty of the long list of crimes against the regime, Nimr was sentenced to death and might be beheaded any time.
Rights activists have started an online campaign #AliMohammedAlNimr for supporting the blogger who was 17 at the time of the arrest, and hence cannot be given capital punishment as per UN Convention on the Rights of The Child (CRC), to which Saudi Arabia is a signatory.
The story created a buzz on the social media recently after American comic Bill Maher, known for his controversial ideas about religion and Muslims, mentioned it in his argument over the Ahmed Mohammed case. Following this many protested the brutal death sentence given to the blogger and questioned the Saudi ambassador’s appointment as the chair of a panel on the UN Human Rights Council.
The decision is also causing waves in Saudi for other reasons, apart from the online support generated by activists. The issue has divided general opinion on sectarian lines, something which is a cause for grave concern given the Shia-Sunni turmoil in the Middle East.
Say #AliMohammedAlNimr ‘s name, because in 2015 humanity should be better now than to allow a teenager to be crucified for protesting— Guccifer Clinton (@subverzo) September 24, 2015
While ISIS and extremist elements in Bangladesh display brutality and religious intolerance by beheading and crucifying people, Saudi Arabia seems to have institutionalised the practice.