PTI | Nov 27, 2015, 09.15 PM IST
DUBAI: About 1,000 members of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority gathered at a mosque today to demand the release of activists on death row, including one aged 17 when he was arrested, a resident said.
He said the prayers and sermons at Imam Hussein Mosque in the Eastern Province town of Awamiya drew Shiites from nearby Qatif and the Al-Ahsa region.
“They gathered to demand their freedom,” said the resident who asked for anonymity.
Their call came as the family of one Shiite activist, sentenced to death after protesting, voiced concern over his fate and a rights group warned of his imminent execution.
The sentence against Ali al-Nimr, only 17 when he was arrested in February 2012, has drawn international condemnation over his young age and allegations he was tortured.
Ali al-Nimr’s uncle told AFP on Friday his family fears “the government is serious, very serious” about carrying out the sentence.
Jaffar al-Nimr said his nephew reported that he had undergone a medical check when his family last spoke to him two weeks ago.
Amnesty International warned Thursday that Ali al-Nimr was among more than 50 people, including other Shiite activists, at increased risk of soon being put to death in a single day.
His mother and the mothers of other detainees implored King Salman for clemency after learning of preparations possibly associated with impending executions, the London-based rights group said.
Ali al-Nimr’s case has provoked a call for clemency from France, while the United States expressed “deep concern”.
Activists say Ali al-Nimr is one of three Shiite protesters who were minors at the time of their arrest and have been sentenced to death. They have exhausted all appeals.
“International law prohibits the use of the death penalty against anyone under the age of 18,” Amnesty said.