Saudi Arabia has executed four Shia men convicted on charges of “terrorism” for alleged attacks against police and participating in protest-related violence against security forces.
The interior ministry said the four men were executed on Tuesday for attacks carried out in the region of Qatif, which is home to the town of Awamiya, where there has been a surge in violence since May between Shia-minority groups and security forces.
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The ministry identified the four men as Zaher Abdulraheem Hussein al-Basri, Yousef Ali Abdullah al-Mishaikhesh, Mahdi Mohammed Hasan al-Sayegh, and Amjad Naji Hasan Al Emaibed.
“Each of the executed has committed a series of capital crimes” ranging from staging violent demonstrations, attacking police personnel to “announcing disloyalty to the country’s supreme monarch”, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
On January 2, 2016, the kingdom executed 47 prisoners convicted of various offences, among them prominent Shia religious leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who had led protests against the government and its Sunni religious leaders.
Nimr’s execution prompted demonstrations in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province and in other countries of the Middle East.
In Iran, protests turned violent with demonstrators storming the Saudi embassy, prompting Riyadh to cut diplomatic ties with Tehran.
Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest rates of execution. Rights groups last month expressed concern that 14 Saudi Shia individuals face execution for protest-related crimes.
Minority Shia Muslims have complained of marginalisation and discrimination in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, and have been demanding political and economic reforms.