Amnesty launches campaign to save 3 Saudi activists

Amnesty International has urged Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to spare the lives of three young activists on the verge of execution.

The rights organization launched a campaign on Friday for Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher and Dawood Marhoon, who were arrested in 2012, over their alleged roles in anti-regime protests in the Qatif region of the Eastern Province.

All the three were underage at the time but were sentenced to death by Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court. With all appeals exhausted now, the three could be executed at any time.

The UK-based rights group called on everyone to join the campaignthrough Amnesty’s Thunderclap on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, to demand justice for the three young “alongside hundreds of others and then ‘release’ them all at the same time on 14 February 2016.”

“By acting together, our voices will be even louder – and we can increase the pressure to stop three young activists being executed,” it added.

Nimer is the nephew of the late prominent Shia cleric, Ayatollah Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was executed in early January. The killing of Sheikh Nimr caused global uproar against Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on minorities, especially the Shia Muslims that account for more than 20 percent of the Saudi population.

Riyadh has been under fire for having one of the world’s highest execution rates. The kingdom also faces criticism for restricting the access of the country’s Shia minority to public education, employment and the justice system.

Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province has been the scene of demonstrations since February 2011, with protesters demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners and an end to widespread discrimination against people of the oil-rich region.

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