THE LEVANT – People in Saudi Arabia have continued their demonstrations against the death sentence issued for a prominent Shia cleric.
According to reports on Monday, residents of the village of Awamiyah in the Qatif region of the kingdom’s Eastern Province took to the streets to condemn the death sentence issued for the Saudi cleric, Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr.
The Awamiyah protest, which came nearly one week after a court sentenced him to capital punishment, began on Sunday and is reportedly expected to last for three days.
Several towns of the Eastern Province, including Qatif and neighboring Tarout Island, have been the scene of demonstrations to announce solidarity with Nimr.
The recent spate of demonstrations comes after Nimr was sentenced to death at the Specialized Criminal Court in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh on Wednesday.
The prominent Shia cleric was attacked and detained in Qatif in July 2012. His arrest sparked widespread protests in the kingdom, claiming the lives of several anti-government demonstrators.
Sheikh Nimr is accused of disturbing the country’s security, giving anti-regime speeches, and defending political prisoners.
Amnesty International has called the death sentence for Sheikh Nimr “appalling,” saying the verdict should be quashed since it is politically motivated.
International human rights organizations have repeatedly lashed out at Saudi Arabia for failing to address the human rights situation in the kingdom. They say Saudi Arabia has persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly.