‘Saudi Arab will face divine vengeance after Cleric’s execution’: Iran

DUBAI/RIYADH: On Sunday, Iranian protesters gathered at the Saudi Embassy in Tehran as the state reacted to the Saudi Arabia’s execution of a very prominent Shia Cleric with a great anger.

According to the news reported, Iran’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling for calm and urging protesters to respect the diplomatic premises.

Pictures that showed parts of the interior on fire and smashed furniture inside one office were tweeted.

Iran’s IRNA news agency reported that on the embassy the demonstrators who had massed to protest at the Nimr Al Nimr’s execution went into the embassy and started the fires when the police tried to clear the way.

The prosecutor said “investigations to identify other persons involved in this incident are ongoing.”

Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shia Muslim cleric alongside dozens of Al Qaeda members on Saturday.

Most of the 47 executed were convicted of Al Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia a decade ago, but four, including prominent cleric Nimr al-Nimr, were Shia Muslims accused of shooting policemen during anti-government protests in recent years.

The executions took place in 12 cities in Saudi Arabia, four prisons using firing squads and the others beheading. The bodies were then hanged from gibbets in the most severe form of punishment available in the kingdom’s Sharia Islamic law.

The simultaneous execution of 47 people on security grounds was the biggest mass execution for such offences in Saudi Arabia since the 1980 killing of 63 extremist rebels who seized Mecca’s Grand Mosque in 1979.

The 43 Sunni extremists executed included several prominent Al Qaeda figures, including those convicted of responsibility for attacks on Western compounds, government buildings and diplomatic missions that killed hundreds from 2003-06.

At least three other Shias were executed alongside Nimr, including Ali al-Rubh, who relatives said was a juvenile at the time of the crime for which he was convicted, Mohammed al-Shayoukh and Mohammed Suwaymil.

Activists in the Shia district of Qatif have warned of possible protests in response to the executions. However, Nimr’s brother, Mohammed al-Nimr, said he hoped any response would be peaceful.

The Interior Ministry statement began with Quranic verses justifying the use of execution and state television showed footage of the aftermath of Al Qaeda attacks in the last decade. Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh appeared on television soon after to describe the executions as just.

Under the kingdom’s strict Islamic legal code, murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.