Interior ministry says executed “terrorists” took part in attacks against residential and government buildings.
Saudi Arabia has executed 47 “terrorists”, according to the interior ministry, including Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr and al-Qaeda-affiliated Faris al-Zahrani.
In a press statement read out on state TV on Saturday, the ministry listed the names of all those it said were already convicted on charges of terrorism.
The death sentence given to Nimr al-Nimr, who led anti-government protests in the country’s east, was confirmed by the Supreme Court in October.
He was convicted of sedition, disobedience and bearing arms. Al-Nimr did not deny the political charges against him, but said he never carried weapons or called for violence.
Faris al-Zahrani had been in custody ever since his detention near the Yemeni border in 2004 [Youtube]
Iran condemned his execution, saying that Riyadh was executing “opponents of terrorism”.
Hossein Jaber Ansari, Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson, said Saudi Arabia will “pay a high price for following these policies”.
Many of the other men executed had been linked to attacks in the kingdom between 2003 and 2006, blamed on al-Qaeda.
Among them was al-Qaeda preacher al-Zahani, once considered one of Saudi Arabia’s “most-wanted terrorists”. He was detained in 2004 while allegedly in possession of weapons.
An Egyptian citizen and a Chadian citizen were also among the executed, the ministry said. The rest were all Saudis.
Hussain al-Shobokshi, a prominent Saudi columnist, told Al Jazeera that Saudi authorities did not differentiate between “Shia source of terror and Sunni source of terror”.
“[Saudi Arabia] made sure it saw no difference between any form of terror, as long as it was threatening its people and its economy,” he said.
Source Al Jazeera: