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Eight years since his arrest: Minor Ali al-Nimr on death row

لقرائته بالعربية إصغط هنا

14 February 2020 marks eight years since the arbitrary arrest of demonstrator Ali al-Nimr, who was a 17-year-old minor at the time. These years have involved extensive abuses perpetrated by state institutions, including torture. Prior to that, he was run down by a police car while riding his motorcycle. In May 2015, after an unfair trial, Ali al-Nimr was sentenced to death and remains at risk of execution at any moment.

The case of Ali al-Nimr (born on 20 December 1994) has received widespread world attention, with heads of state, high officials, and various government agencies, as well as members of parliament, political parties, and human rights organizations all criticizing al-Nimr’s sentence. Numerous UN entities, such as working groups, agencies, and special rapporteurs, have written often to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia demanding justice in al-Nimr’s case.
A legal analysis by an independent expert in counterterrorism and human rights confirmed the invalidity of the sentence and the incompetence of the judge, along with the shocking procedural flaws to which al-Nimr was subjected during arrest and trial until his sentence was handed down. The analysis also cited serious deficiencies related to the judge’s jurisdiction.
The Saudi government has not responded to all the international calls and appeals it has received concerning al-Nimr’s case. Although the government has not carried out the death sentence against him, it remains firm in not changing the sentence and has not investigated any of the abuses he suffered, particularly torture, ill-treatment, and lack of a fair trial. Al-Nimr suffered extensive deprivation of his legal rights, and he was not even allowed to meet with his lawyer.
The European-Saudi Organization for Human Rights considers the eight years Ali al-Nimr has spent in prison to be a clear indication of the Saudi government’s method of handling political and children’s cases, and its lack of respect for any international treaties. Furthermore, we believe that his continued detention and threatening with the death penalty are further evidence of arbitrary sentencing and resentment against international advocacy.
Ali al-Nimr’s death sentence marked the beginning of similar rulings and horrific executions of children during the years of King Salman’s dark reign. Since 2015, ten minors have been executed: Mustafa Abkar, Meshal al-Faraj, Amin al-Ghamdi, Ali Al Rebh, Saeed al-Skafi, Mujtaba al-Sweiket, Salman Al Quraysh, Abdullah Al Sarih, Abdulaziz Al Sahwi, and Abdulkarim al-Hawaj.
In addition to Ali al-Nimr, 11 other minors are under threat of death: Dawood al-Marhoon, Abdullah al-Zaher, Ahmed al-Faraj, Ali Al Bati, Abdullah al-Huwaiti, Mohammed Hussein Al Nimr, Ali Hussein al-Faraj, Jalal Al Labbad, Sajjad Al Yaseen, Youssef al-Manasif, and Mohammed Issam al-Faraj. It is not unlikely that there are names of other children as yet unknown.
ESOHR considers Saudi Arabia’s failure to close the case of Ali al-Nimr, and the cases of all minors, especially those sentenced to death or threatened with the death sentence, by immediately releasing them, holding their torturers accountable, and compensating them for the years they spent behind bars, an ongoing indication of the failure of political decision-makers and relevant institutions to truly respect children’s rights in the country.
The sentences against Ali al-Nimr and other minors and the circumstances of their arrests and detention lie squarely within the responsibility of institutions directly beholden to King Salman and his son.

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