3 January 2016

Iranian protesters damage Saudi embassy in Tehran

In this Thursday, April 1, 2010 file photo, activists from a civil organization reenact an execution scene in front of the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, as they protest a possible beheading of a Lebanese man accused of witchcraft in Saudi Arabia. The Arabic writing on banners read:"don't kill." Saudi Arabia carried out at least 157 executions in 2015, with beheadings reaching their highest level in the country in two decades, according to several advocacy groups that monitor the death penalty worldwide.
Protesters in Iran, angered by the execution by Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shiite cleric, broke into the Saudi embassy in Tehran early Sunday, setting fires and throwing papers from the roof, Iranian media reported.
The semiofficial ISNA news agency said the country's top police official, Gen. Hossein Sajedinia, rushed to the scene and police worked to disperse the crowd outraged by the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Shiite leaders in Iran and other countries across the Middle East swiftly condemned Riyadh and warned of sectarian backlash.

Saudi Arabia's execution Saturday of 47 prisoners, which also included al-Qaida detainees, threatened to further enflame Sunni-Shiite tensions in a regional struggle playing out between the Sunni kingdom and its foe Iran, a predominantly Shiite nation.
While Saudi Arabia insisted the executions were part of a justified war on terrorism, Iranian politicians warned that the Saudi monarchy would pay a heavy price for the death of al-Nimr.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Saudi envoy in Tehran to protest, while the Saudi Foreign Ministry later said it had summoned Iran's envoy to the kingdom to protest the critical Iranian reaction to the sheikh's execution, saying it represented "blatant interference" in its internal affairs.
In this Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 file photo, a Saudi anti-government protester carries a poster with the image of jailed Shiite cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr during the funeral of three Shiite Muslims allegedly killed by Saudi security forces in the eastern town of al-Awamiya, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia says it has executed 47 prisoners, including leading Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The cleric’s name was among a list of the 47 prisoners executed carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It cited the Interior Ministry for the information.

In Tehran, the crowd gathered outside the Saudi embassy and chanted anti-Saudi slogans. Some protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the embassy, setting off a fire in part of the building, Sajedinia told the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
"Some of them entered the embassy. Currently, individuals who entered the embassy have been transferred out (of the building). However, a large crowd is still there in front of the embassy," Sajedinia told ISNA early Sunday.
Some of the protesters broke into the embassy and threw papers off the roof, and police worked to disperse the crowd, Sajedinia told ISNA. He later told Tasnim that police had removed the protesters from the building and arrested some of them. He said the situation outside the embassy "had been defused."
Al-Nimr's execution promises to open a rancorous new chapter in the ongoing Sunni-Shiite power struggle playing out across the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia and Iran as the primary antagonists. The two regional powers already back opposing sides in civil wars in Yemen and in Syria. Saudi Arabia was also a vocal critic of the recent Iranian agreement with world powers that ends international economic sanctions in exchange for limits on the Iranian nuclear program.
In this Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, file photo, a Bahraini anti-government protester holds up a picture of jailed Saudi Sheik Nimr al-Nimr during clashes with riot police in Sanabis, Bahrain, a suburb of the capital Manama. Saudi Arabia says it has executed 47 prisoners, including leading Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The cleric’s name was among a list of the 47 prisoners executed carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It cited the Interior Ministry for the information.

The cleric's execution could also complicate Saudi Arabia's relationship with the Shiite-led government in Iraq. The Saudi embassy in Baghdad reopened for the first time in nearly 25 years on Friday. Already on Saturday there were public calls for Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to shut the embassy down again.
Al-Abadi tweeted Saturday night that he was "shocked and saddened" by al-Nimr's execution, adding that, "peaceful opposition is a fundamental right. Repression does not last."
Hundreds of al-Nimr's supporters also protested in his hometown of al-Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia, in neighboring Bahrain where police fired tear gas and bird shot, and as far away as northern India.
The sheikh's brother, Mohammed al-Nimr, said in a telephone interview that Saudi authorities told the family they had already buried the body, but didn't tell them at which cemetery. The family had hoped to bury his body in his hometown. His funeral would likely have attracted thousands of supporters, including large numbers of protesters. Instead the family planned to hold prayers and accept condolences at the mosque in a village near al-Qatif, where the sheikh used to pray.
A spokesman said in a statement that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was "deeply dismayed" over the Saudi Arabia executions, including that of Al-Nimr.
In this Saturday, May 30, 2015, photo, Saudis carry a poster demanding freedom for jailed Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, during a funeral procession, in Tarut, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia says it has executed 47 prisoners, including leading Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The cleric’s name was among a list of the 47 prisoners executed carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It cited the Interior Ministry for the information.

Germany's Foreign Ministry said the cleric's execution "strengthens our existing concerns about the growing tensions and the deepening rifts in the region."
State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that the U.S. is "particularly concerned" that al-Nimr's execution risked "exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced." He said the U.S. is calling on Saudi Arabia to ensure fair judicial proceedings and permit peaceful expression of dissent while working with all community leaders to defuse tensions after the executions.
Al-Nimr's death comes 11 months after Saudi Arabia issued a sweeping counterterrorism law after Arab Spring protests shook the region in 2011 and toppled several longtime autocrats. The law codified that the kingdom could prosecute as a terrorist anyone who demands reform, exposes corruption or otherwise engages in dissent or violence against the government.
The convictions of those executed Saturday were issued by Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal Court, established in 2008 to try terrorism cases.
The executed al-Qaida detainees were convicted of launching a spate of attacks against foreigners and security forces a decade ago.
To counter Arab Spring rumblings that threatened to spill into eastern Saudi Arabia, the kingdom sent troops in 2011 to crush Shiite protests demanding more political powers from the Sunni-led, fraternal monarchy of Bahrain. More security forces were also deployed that year to contain protests in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich east, where al-Nimr rallied youth who felt disenfranchised and persecuted.
Saudi Arabia's state television channel displays an image of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, Dubai. Saudi Arabia on Saturday announced the execution of 47 prisoners accused of terrorism charges, including the Shiite cleric who was a central figure in 2011 Arab Spring-inspired protests in the kingdom. The killing of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr may spark new unrest among Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority, largely concentrated in the kingdom’s east, and in Bahrain, which has seen low-level violence since 2011 protests by its Shiite majority demanding greater rights from its Sunni monarchy. Arabic under photo reads: Nimr Baqir Ameen al-Nimr, nationality/Saudi. Red ticker reads: The deviant group determined to strike the national economy and harm the position of the kingdom and its relations with (other) countries.

A Saudi lawyer in the eastern region told The Associated Press that three other Shiite political detainees were also executed from among the 47. The lawyer spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
Saudi Arabia says all those executed were convicted of acts of terrorism. Al-Nimr and the three others mentioned had been charged in connection with violence that led to the deaths of several protesters and police officers.
Saudi Arabia's top cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh defended the executions as in line with Islamic Shariah law. He described the executions as a "mercy to the prisoners" because it would save them from committing more evil acts and prevent chaos.
Islamic scholars around the world hold vastly different views on the application of the death penalty in Shariah law. Saudi Arabia's judiciary adheres to one of the strictest interpretations, a Sunni Muslim ideology referred to as Wahhabism.
Saudi Arabia carries out most executions through beheading and sometimes in public and has drawn comparisons to extremist groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State group — which also carry out public beheadings and claim to be implementing Shariah. It strongly rejects the comparisons and points out that it has a judicial appeals process with executions ultimately aimed at combating crime.
A Bahraini anti-government protester with his face covered watches out for police during a protest in support of Saudi Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, in Daih, a suburb of Manama, Bahrain, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and al-Nimr who rallied protests against the government. The execution of al-Nimr is expected to deepen discontent among Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority and heighten sectarian tensions across the region.

The Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah issued a statement calling al-Nimr's execution an "assassination" and a "ugly crime." The group added that those who carry the "moral and direct responsibility for this crime are the United States and its allies who give direct protection to the Saudi regime."
In a press conference Saturday, Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said the executions were carried out inside prisons and not in public, as is sometimes the case. The Interior Ministry, which announced the names of all 47 people executed in a statement, said a royal court order was issued to implement the sentences after all appeals had been exhausted.
Meanwhile, the execution of al-Qaida militants raised concerns over revenge attacks. The extremist group's branch in Yemen, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, had threatened violence against Saudi security forces last month if they carried out executions of its fighters.
One of the executed was Faris al-Shuwail, a leading ideologue in al-Qaida's Saudi branch who was arrested in August 2004 during a massive crackdown on the group following the series of deadly attacks.
The executions took place in the capital, Riyadh, and 12 other cities and towns. Of those executed, 45 were Saudi citizens, one was from Chad and another was from Egypt.
Kashmiri Shiite Muslims mourn as they hold portraits of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr mourns during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Hundreds of Shiite Muslim in Indian portion of Kashmiri rallied in the Shia dominated areas protesting against Saudi Arabia , after they announced on Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and a prominent Shiite cleric who rallied protests against the government.

In announcing the verdicts, Saudi state television showed mugshots of those executed. Al-Nimr was No. 46, expressionless with a gray beard, his head covered with the red-and-white scarf traditionally worn by men in the Arab Gulf region.
Al-Nimr, who was in his 50s, never denied the political charges against him, but maintained he never carried weapons or called for violence.
At his trial, he was asked if he disapproved of the Al Saud ruling family because of speeches in which he spoke out forcefully against former Interior Minister and late Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdelaziz, who is King Salman's elder brother.
"If injustice stops against Shiites in the east, then (at that point) I can have a different opinion," the cleric responded, according to his brother, who attended court sessions and spoke to The Associated Press just days before the Oct. 2014 verdict.
U.S.-based Human Rights Watch's Middle East director Sarah Leah said "regardless of the crimes allegedly committed, executing prisoners in mass only further stains Saudi Arabia's troubling human rights record." She said al-Nimr was convicted in an "unfair" trial and that his execution "is only adding to the existing sectarian discord and unrest."
A Kashmiri Shiite Muslim man shouts slogans against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Hundreds of Shiite Muslims in Indian portion of Kashmiri rallied in the Shia dominated areas protesting against Saudi Arabia, after they announced on Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and a prominent Shiite cleric who rallied protests against the government.

Al-Nimr's brother told the AP by telephone that the executions came as a "big shock" because "we thought the authorities could adopt a political approach to settle matters without bloodshed." He urged people to "adopt peaceful means when expressing their anger."
Saudi Arabia carried out at least 157 executions in 2015, with beheadings reaching their highest level in the kingdom in two decades, according to human rights groups. 
(AP)
Kashmiri Shiite Muslims hold the Hezbollah flag as they march through a street shouting slogans against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Hundreds of Shiite Muslim in Indian portion of Kashmiri rallied in the Shia dominated areas protesting against Saudi Arabia , after they announced on Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and a prominent Shiite cleric who rallied protests against the government.
Kashmiri Shiite Muslims hold the Hezbollah flag as they march through a street shouting slogans against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Hundreds of Shiite Muslim in Indian portion of Kashmiri rallied in the Shia dominated areas protesting against Saudi Arabia , after they announced on Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and a prominent Shiite cleric who rallied protests against the government. 
Kashmiri Shiite Muslims, carrying a placard with the portrait of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, shout slogans during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Hundreds of Shiite Muslims in Indian portion of Kashmiri rallied in the Shia dominated areas protesting against Saudi Arabia , after they announced on Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and a prominent Shiite cleric who rallied protests against the government.
Kashmiri Shiite Muslims, carrying a placard with the portrait of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, shout slogans during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Hundreds of Shiite Muslims in Indian portion of Kashmiri rallied in the Shia dominated areas protesting against Saudi Arabia , after they announced on Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and a prominent Shiite cleric who rallied protests against the government. 
A Kashmiri Shiite woman along with her daughter watch from a window of their house as Shiite protesters shout slogans against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Hundreds of Shiite Muslim in Indian portion of Kashmiri rallied in the Shia dominated areas protesting against Saudi Arabia , after they announced on Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and a prominent Shiite cleric who rallied protests against the government.
A Kashmiri Shiite woman along with her daughter watch from a window of their house as Shiite protesters shout slogans against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Hundreds of Shiite Muslim in Indian portion of Kashmiri rallied in the Shia dominated areas protesting against Saudi Arabia , after they announced on Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and a prominent Shiite cleric who rallied protests against the government.    
A Kashmiri Shiite family watches from a window of their house as Shiite protesters shout slogans against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Hundreds of Shiite Muslim in Indian portion of Kashmiri rallied in the Shia dominated areas protesting against Saudi Arabia , after they announced on Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and a prominent Shiite cleric who rallied protests against the government.
A Kashmiri Shiite family watches from a window of their house as Shiite protesters shout slogans against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Hundreds of Shiite Muslim in Indian portion of Kashmiri rallied in the Shia dominated areas protesting against Saudi Arabia , after they announced on Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and a prominent Shiite cleric who rallied protests against the government. 
Smoke rises as Iranian protesters set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Protesters upset over the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia set fires to the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
Smoke rises as Iranian protesters set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Protesters upset over the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia set fires to the Saudi embassy in Tehran.  
Iranian security stand guard to protect Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.
Iranian security stand guard to protect Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.  
Iranian security stand guard to protect Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.
Iranian security stand guard to protect Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. 
Iranian security stand guard to protect Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.
Iranian security stand guard to protect Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. 
Iranian security protect Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.
Iranian security protect Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. 
Iranian security stand guard to protect Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.
Iranian security stand guard to protect Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.
Bahraini protesters carry a banner reading, "We will not bow! #alNimr," during a demonstration against Saudi Arabia's execution of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, in Daih, Bahrain, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and al-Nimr, who rallied protests against the Saudi government. The execution of al-Nimr is expected to deepen discontent among Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority and heighten sectarian tensions across the region.
Bahraini protesters carry a banner reading, "We will not bow! #alNimr," during a demonstration against Saudi Arabia's execution of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, in Daih, Bahrain, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and al-Nimr, who rallied protests against the Saudi government. The execution of al-Nimr is expected to deepen discontent among Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority and heighten sectarian tensions across the region.  
A Bahraini anti-government protester holds up a picture of Saudi Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution in Saudi Arabia was announced Saturday, during a peaceful demonstration in Daih, Bahrain, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and al-Nimr, who rallied protests against the Saudi government. The execution of al-Nimr is expected to deepen discontent among Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority and heighten sectarian tensions across the region.
A Bahraini anti-government protester holds up a picture of Saudi Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution in Saudi Arabia was announced Saturday, during a peaceful demonstration in Daih, Bahrain, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaida detainees and al-Nimr, who rallied protests against the Saudi government. The execution of al-Nimr is expected to deepen discontent among Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority and heighten sectarian tensions across the region. 
Smoke rises as Iranian protesters set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Protesters upset over the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia set fires to the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
Smoke rises as Iranian protesters set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Protesters upset over the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia set fires to the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

No comments:

Post a Comment