Execution in Saudi Arabia

By   /   September 24, 2015  /   20 Comments

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Many of you will have seen the horrible news that Saudi Arabia is intending to go ahead with the planned crucifixion and execution of Ali Mohamed al-Nimr who was arrested when he was a child.


Many of you will have seen the horrible news that Saudi Arabia is intending to go ahead with the planned crucifixion and execution of Ali Mohamed al-Nimr who was arrested when he was a child.

Taken from the UN News site, and from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:

“…Mr. al-Nimr, then a high school student, was arrested in 2012 when he was 17 by the Saudi authorities for his reported participation in ‘Arab Spring’ protests in Qatif, Eastern Province. The Specialized Criminal Court in May 2015 sentenced him to death for joining a criminal group and attacking police officers. He was reportedly subjected to torture and ill treatment by the General Investigation Directorate which forced him to confess the charges against him.

[…] Mr. al-Nimr’s appeal made by his lawyer was heard without prior notification and the proceedings fell short of international standards.

“Mr. al-Nimr did not receive a fair trial and his lawyer was not allowed to properly assist him and was prevented from accessing the case file. 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,” said the [Special Rapporteur] experts.


Two other individuals are at risk of an imminent execution after being arrested for their participation in Qatif when they were children. “

This is abhorrent.  I call on the New Zealand Government to formally protest.  We should call in the Saudi Consular General and demand that this young man’s life be spared.  He should be allowed access to a free and impartial hearing.

There are moments when it is worth saying something.  This is a moment, Minister McCully.

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About the author

Michael Timmins

Michael Timmins is an expert in international human rights law. Specialising in refugee rights, Michael has worked in Egypt, the United States, Australia, Thailand, Pakistan and his home country of New Zealand across roles in advocacy, academia, and government. He is also a member of the Child Poverty Action Group's Management Committee. Michael’s writing covers international human rights, counter-terrorism, international environmental law, rule of law and accountability issues, as well as anything interesting happening in international relations.


  1. wild katipo says:

    A 17 year old.

    An unfair trial .

    His lawyers unable to assist him.

    Then a sentence to death by a Crucifixion.


    McCully !!!??!!!….get cracking at once , man !!!!

    – Just get cracking !!!!

    Otherwise the whole motive your govt said it has for sending our troops to Iraq really and truly becomes a joke.

  2. Rae says:

    John Key actually stand up for something that might have an effect on the dollars we “earn” from that abomination of a country? Please don’t hold your breath.
    It is after all, official, you know.
    How he can’t be sick to his stomach, I do not know.

  3. Tiger Mountain says:

    crucify AND behead–that’ll learn him…tell me more about this merciful god…

    it seems a good number of our global citizens have still not even begun to enter the 21st century in regards to human rights

    it will be petty justice but the sooner the oil runs out the better, let these butchers live in the hulks of their Lambos

  4. Richard Christie says:

    This is abhorrent.

    Yes it is.

    It is called the Sharia penal code.

    • Sounds remarkably like Texas Penal Code…

      • Richard Christie says:

        Sounds remarkably like Texas Penal Code…


        No, it doesn’t.

        Texas doesn’t

        execute for adultery
        execute for blasphemy
        execute for homosexuality

        Texas doesn’t:

        physically mutilate people for minor offences
        crucify offenders
        stone people to death
        flog people

  5. roy says:

    “Well I’m pretty comfortable with it, given our good trade relationship, and let’s not forget our sheep deal which NZ stand to benefit billions from, I think that’s what most NZers want.”

    • James says:

      Exactly, petro-dollars and trade trump human rights. I would have thought that our representative to the UN would want to speak out against such atrocities but, like the rest of them, there is silence.

  6. Steve King says:

    Back in the 90s muzza was the go to guy if the nats wanted the shit kicked out of anyone. He is not known for his sound ethics. Indeed the unkind might say that he has the moral standard of a p dealing psychopath. He will be hiding under his desk at the UN rather than risk offending his Saudi buddies. What an embarrassment. Key and mccully make bush and Cheney look enlightened.

  7. saveNZ says:


  8. James says:

    And Saudi Arabia have just been elected to chair the human rights council at the UN. McCully and Key are silent. They’re probably planning to send some more sheep over to keep the wealthy businessmen happy and entice some more investment here. Dollars speak louder than human rights for some!

  9. Trevor Mills says:

    The only human rights Key and McCully understand is their own right of profiteering from other humans.

  10. Mike the Lefty says:

    Mr Key used a phrase “get some guts” in February. Now I say to him and Mr McCully “get some guts and join the right side yourselves”. Time for John Key to show that HE actually has some guts and to stand up against this outrage that takes the human race back over two thousand years.

  11. Mike inn Auckland says:

    The NZ government does not give a shit about this, as trade and earned dollars come first. John Key also proved his hypocritical stand when only reacting to the refugee crisis hitting Europe after a week of doing nothing, and then only offering a meagre 600 extra refugee acceptances over two and a half year, after the world media showed the horrible pictures of a drowned Syrian Kurdish child being picked up on a Turkish beach.

    Morality is nowhere to be found under this government, and hence they sweep all questions and complaints under the carpet, when it comes to human rights breaches in Saudi Arabia.

    Remember all the rage by Key about the opposition in Parliament not supporting his sending of NZ army trainers to Iraq?

    ISIS was the enemy, rightfully so, but the Saudis do much of the same as IS do under their interpretation under sharia law.

    Nevertheless, we have a major challenge at hand, but the west is good at stuffing up, across the board.


  12. BR says:

    McCully and Key will do nothing because – $$$

  13. […] Saudi Arabia is that line? Their decision to execute and then crucify a human being is about as barbaric as it gets. ISIS are alone in this level of barbarism. We can not and should not seek a free trade deal with a […]