Saudi man executed in Shia-populated east for rebellion

PTI, Aug 4, 2021, 9:48 AM IST

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia announced the execution Tuesday of a man it said had been found guilty of armed rebellion and protesting against the state in the Shiite populated eastern region of Qatif.

The Interior Ministry said the execution of Ahmed bin Saeed bin Ali al-Janabi was carried out in the Eastern Province’s administrative capital of Dammam.

The brief statement said al-Janabi had participated in the attempted killing of police by opening fire at various security points and patrols throughout Qatif.

It said he also assisted in weapons smuggling and took part in marches and riots, which Saudi law deems as undermining the social fabric and cohesion of society.

The statement characterised these as “terrorist” acts.

The statement said interrogations resulted in related charges and that a death sentence was administered as punishment for these acts.

The statement did not further identify the man or specify when the alleged crimes had taken place, though past executions of men in the Eastern Province’s administrative capital of Dammam on similar charges have all been minority Shiites.

Activists contacted by The Associated Press confirmed that al-Janabi was Shiite, but said little else was known about his case and that he has a brother currently imprisoned for protesting the government.

Violent protests in Qatif erupted around the time of Arab Spring protests in other countries, with Saudi Shiite residents of the area demanding fairer treatment and greater rights.

They complain that their cities and towns, which sit near the kingdom’s vast oil reserves, are left underdeveloped.

They say segments of Saudi textbooks and years of societal influence by ultraconservative Sunnis encouraged further discrimination against them.

The kingdom has executed more than 30 people so far this year, including at least one other young Shiite man accused of similar charges.

Most executions in Saudi Arabia are carried out by beheading.

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