Saudi regime frees young Shia Muslim ex-death row prisoner al-Nimr after 9 years
Amid an international outcry over Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on dissent, the regime has released Ali al-Nimr, a young Shia Muslim who spent a decade in prison for attending peaceful anti-regime protests and received a death penalty that was later rescinded.
According to reports, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was released on Wednesday, following Saudi Arabia’s decision to commute death sentences for individuals who committed alleged crimes while minors.
Nimr’s freedom was welcomed by independent UN human rights experts.
“Ali al-Nimr, a young man detained since 2012 for participating in protests when he was a child, and who previously faced a death sentence, has been released today,” ALQST for Human Rights said on Twitter.
Nimr’s uncle, Jaafar al-Nimr, posted a picture of his nephew on Twitter shortly after leaving prison.
“Ali al-Nimr to freedom...praise be to God for your safety,” he tweeted.
Nimr’s sister also tweeted, “After ten years, my brother is free, thank God.”
Nimr was arrested during a peaceful anti-regime protest in the Shia Muslim-majority Qatif region, Eastern Province, back in 2012 when he was only 17 years old. He was later convicted of alleged criminal activities and handed down a death penalty along with two other underage men, Abdullah al-Zaher and Dawood Marhoon, by Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court in May 2015.
Nimr is the nephew of the late prominent Shia religious scholar, Ayatollah Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was martyred in January 2016. The killing of Sheikh Nimr caused a global uproar against Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on minorities, especially the Shia Muslims that account for more than 20 percent of the Saudi population.