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Western-backed Saudi Arabia threatens to crucify activist

By: 
Yusur Al Bahrani

April 11, 2013

The Western-backed dictatorship in Saudi Arabia is persecuting the pro-democracy progressive faith leader Sheikh Nemr Baqir Al-Nemr, and the Saudi public prosecutor has asked for a sentence of death by crucifixion. Upon hearing the shocking news, revolutionaries in the Eastern province of Qatif--the site of previous protests--have decided to break the wall of silence and organize regular protests.
 
Imminent risk
According to the Saudi authorities, Al-Nemr is charged with instigating sectarianism, breaching national unity, betraying the country, defaming the rulers and clerics of the gulf countries and encouraging his supporters to break the law. But closely observing Al-Nemr speeches in the past couple of years since the Arab Spring began, it's clear all his demands have been social justice, equality and an end to oppression. In all pro-democracy protests in Qatif, Al-Nemr was in the frontline encouraging men and women to fight for their rights. He strongly opposed all the dictatorships in the Arab region, including the Western backed Saudi monarchy. In order to silence the voice of other activists and protestors, the Saudi authorities launched a systematic series of attacks on him, despite his prominence as a religious leader.  
 
West's hypocricy 
While claiming to support democracy and freedom of expression in different places, none of the Western governments has condemned the crucifixion sentence which violates the basic human rights and sets us back to the Middle Ages. Al-Nemr’s case has not received any media attention. This is worrying human rights activists and people in Saudi Arabia as the number of prisoners of conscience is increasing at an alarming rate. If no serious action is taken to save Al-Nemr’s life, any pro-democracy activist or leader could face the same destiny.
 
Being a large exporter of oil to the United States and a large importer of US arms, Saudi Arabia managed to divert the attention of mainstream media away. Hundreds have been killed, injured and arrested in the past two years during protests. In addition, Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates. According to Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest executioners in the world. 
 
Solidarity
People in Saudi Arabia should not be alone in their struggle to end oppression. Real solidarity is needed to expose the West’s role in supporting the oppressive monarchy of Al-Saud. We should spread the message of revolutionaries who want social justice and an end to the ongoing systematic oppression in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 
 
If you like this article, register now for Marxism 2013: Revolution In Our Time, a weekend-long conference of ideas to change the world. Sessions include "Permanent Revolution: The Arab Spring, two years later" and "From Cairo to Jerusalem: Palestine and the Arab Spring."

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Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protestors in Qatif on April 4, 2013
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