Saudi Arabia Executed 47 Terrorists, Provokes World Protests

Saudi-Arabia-executions- Saudi Arabia executed 47 terrorists

Saudi Arabia executed 47 terrorists in one day, resulting in protests from governments around the world. (

Saudi Arabia executed 47 terrorists in one day, causing protests by civil rights advocates, the Shiite majority in Iran, and governments around the world.  However, the Saudi interior ministry referred to the men as terrorists and defended their executions.

The executed men include the popular Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and a convicted al-Qaeda leader Faris al-Zahrani.  The names of those who were executed were read aloud on state television on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016.

One of the men was an Egyptian citizen; another from Chad.  All the others were Saudi citizens.  At least four of those who were executed were members of the Shiite minority, including Nimr al-Nimr.

Nimr al-Nimr led anti-government protests in Saudi Arabia and called for the overthrow of the Saudi royal family.  He was convicted of sedition, disobedience and bearing arms.  He never denied the political charges, but insisted that he did not carry weapons, as charged, nor did he call for violence.

Zahrani, and several of the other executed men, were linked to a variety of attacks in Saudi Arabia between 2003 and 2006, which were blamed on al-Qaeda.  Zahrani was also alleged to have been in possession of weapons when he was arrested in 2004.

Some of the men were beheaded and others were shot by a firing squad, according to Saudi interior ministry spokesman, Mansur al-Turki.

Saudi officials insist that they d0 not differentiate between a “Shia source of terror and Sunni source of terror”.  In other words, they wanted to make it clear that the executions were not directed specifically at the Shiite minority.

As Announced on Saudi Television, Saudi Arabia Executed 47 Terrorists

The Executions Inspired Protests Around the World 

Iran’s foreign ministry condemned the executions, stating they were “the depth of imprudence and irresponsibility.”

Protesters in Iran attacked the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran, resulting in the severing of diplomatic relationships between the Saudis and the Iranians the next day. Iranian diplomats were given 48 hours to leave Saudi Arabia.

Several dozen people marched through the capital of Bahrain to protest the executions.  In London, people gathered outside the Saudi embassy and protested.

There were also protests in Pakistan, Yemen and within Saudi Arabia, particularly in the town of Al-Awamiya.

The U.S. state department criticized the executions and released a statement that Nimr’s execution, in particular, risked “exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that he was “deeply dismayed” by the executions.  Many of those who objected to the executions thought it particularly ironic that Saudi Arabia heads up the UN Human Rights Panel.


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