France urges Saudi Arabia to cancel death penalty for youth
September 23 2015 05:29 PM
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Ali Mohammed al-Nimr
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr

Reuters/Paris

France on Wednesday called on Saudi Arabia not to execute a Shia Muslim sentenced to death over his role in anti-government protests, saying he was a minor when he was arrested.
Ali al-Nimr, who is 18 according to activists, was given the death penalty in May after taking part in protests three years ago for democracy and equal rights in Saudi Arabia's oil-producing Eastern Province.
"France is concerned by the situation of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was sentenced to death even though he was a minor at the time of the events," Foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said. "Opposed to the death penalty in all cases and circumstances, we call for the execution to be called off.
The French statement came a day after United Nations rights experts called on Riyadh to halt Nimr's "imminent execution"
Nimr was convicted of sedition, rioting, protesting and robbery in the Eastern Province district of Qatif.
Nimr, who activists said was 17 at the time of his arrest, was also convicted of chanting anti-state slogans in illegal protests and inciting others to demonstrate, state media reported.
The conviction of Nimr, a nephew of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric who is also on trial.

Father asks king for clemency

The father of Ali al-Nimr appealed to King Salman on Wednesday to spare his life.
In an interview with AFP, Mohammed al-Nimr said he hoped Salman would save his son Ali, who was only 17 at the time of his arrest in February 2012.
"We hope that the king will not sign" the execution order, Mohammed al-Nimr said, after Saudi Arabia's highest court confirmed the death sentence, leaving his son's fate in the hands of the king.

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