Saudi execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr sparks clashes across region – as it happened

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced it had executed 47 people for terrorism, including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Other countries are also joining the outcry over the executions, this time Germany. A German foreign ministry official expressed concern Nimr’s execution and reaffirmed the country’s view that the death penalty is an inhumane form of punishment.

“The execution of Nimr al-Nimr strengthens our existing concerns about increasing tensions and deepening rifts in the region,” said the official, who declined to be named.

Unsurprisingly, bucking the trend are the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, who as members of a Saudi-led coalition battling Iran-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen praised their ally.

UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan described the executions as a “clear message against terrorism and those who call for and incite sedition and unrest to tear apart the society’s unity and threaten social peace in the kingdom”.

Bahrain, where protesters clashed with police earlier today, also backed Riyadh in “all deterrent and needed measures it takes to confront violence and extremism”.

The speaker of Iran’s parliament says the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr will prompt a “maelstrom” in Saudi Arabia.

In comments posted on Iranian state television’s website, Ali Larijani said: “Nimr’s martyrdom will put Saudi Arabia in a maelstrom. Saudi will not pass through this maelstrom.”

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