Under the Saudi Law, crucifixion involves beheading, followed by display of body in public. Twenty-one-year-old Ali al-Nimr will be crucified any minute without his family knowing. His looming execution is illegal under the international law, according to UN experts.
He was arrested by Saudian authorities when he was just 17 years old, back when he was just a high school student. His arrest, without a warrant, was made after allegedly participating in the Arab Spring pro-democracy rally. Among his many offenses is “explaining how to render first aid to protesters,” and using his Blackberry phone to invite others in demonstrations, according to Reprieve, a group of human rights defenders.
Reprieve is also of information that Ali suffered tortures in order to make him sign a false confession of the crimes charged against him. According to another human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, he had no access to his lawyer from the time he was arrested. In fact, Reprieve said that Ali’s final appeal in court was done in secrecy, without Ali’s very own presence.
A group of United Nations human rights experts – Christof Heyns, Juan E. Méndez, and Benyam Mezmur – is now calling for Saudi Arabia to immediately drop Ali’s execution. They argue that he was imposed the death penalty while he was just a child.
Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offense , and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations, according to the UN experts. “International law, accepted as binding by Saudi Arabia, provides that capital punishment may only be imposed following trials that comply with the most stringent requirements of fair trial and due process, or could otherwise be considered an arbitrary execution,” the experts further explained.
“In light of reports that the trial against Mr. al-Nimr fell short of such standards, we call upon the Saudi authorities to ensure a fair retrial of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, and to immediately halt the scheduled execution,” the experts called.