Ban Ki-Moon urges Saudi Arabia to stop sheikh al-Nimr’s execution

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called on Riyadh to halt the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr.

Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York, Ban’s spokesmen, Stephane Dujarric, said that during a phone call the UN chief had asked Saudi King Salman to overturn the death sentence against the Shiite religious leader.

Meanwhile, Londoners also denounced the death sentence issued for Sheikh Nimr outside the Saudi embassy in the British capital.

Activists once again gathered outside the embassy in London calling on Riyadh to halt the execution of Sheikh Nimr and his nephew.

The participants in the Wednesday rally held placards reading “free Sheikh Nimr” and “sentenced to death due to the idea of election system.”

“We call on Saudi Arabia to halt these executions and either release these innocent prisoners or we call for… a fair and public trial under the watchful eyes of the world,” Russia’s Ruptly news agency quoted an activist as saying.

“And we will not be silenced as you do to your citizens in Saudi Arabia,” another activist said.

Sheikh Nimr was detained in July 2012 following demonstrations that erupted in Qatif region. He is accused of delivering anti-regime speeches and defending political prisoners.

His arrest has sparked widespread protests in the Arab country, leaving several people dead.

Last October, Sheikh Nimr’s family reported that a Saudi judge has found him guilty of “sedition” and sentenced him to death.

Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, the cleric’s nephew, has also been sentenced to death over his alleged role in anti-regime protests in 2012, when he was 17 years old.

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