RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Gottinger writes: "Amnesty International stated that Sheik al-Nimr's execution showed that Saudi officials were 'using the death penalty in the name of counter-terror to settle scores and crush dissidents.' Reader Supported News spoke with Sheik al-Nimr's son, Mohammed al-Nimr, just a few weeks after his father's execution."

President Obama meets with Saudi Arabia's King Salman in September 2015 at the Oval Office. On January 1, Saudi Arabia executed 4 individuals who engaged in non-violent protest for democracy and human rights in the Kingdom. Behind the president and King Salman sits a bust of the champion of non-violent protest, Martin Luther King Jr. (photo: AP)
President Obama meets with Saudi Arabia's King Salman in September 2015 at the Oval Office. On January 1, Saudi Arabia executed 4 individuals who engaged in non-violent protest for democracy and human rights in the Kingdom. Behind the president and King Salman sits a bust of the champion of non-violent protest, Martin Luther King Jr. (photo: AP)


US Ties to Saudi Kingdom Are Beheading Democracy: An Interview With the Son of an Executed Political Prisoner

By Paul Gottinger, Reader Supported News

26 February 16

 

audi Arabia opened 2016 with a tragic, yet increasingly common event for the Kingdom, a mass execution.

In the words of Amnesty International, “Saudi Arabia’s authorities demonstrated their utter disregard for human rights and life by executing 47 people in a single day.”

According to the British rights organization Reprieve, Saudi Arabia has had one of the world’s highest rates of execution for over ten years. Many of these executions occur after unfair trails and may be carried out by the barbaric means of beheading, public crucifixion, stoning, or firing squad.

All 47 individuals executed on January 1 were accused of being terrorists. However, four of those executed were involved in Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring protests. These four remained strictly nonviolent in their calls for greater democracy and rights in the Kingdom.

Despite being a major US ally, Saudi Arabia has an atrocious human rights record. The Kingdom is intolerant of any dissent and harshly represses any critics. The Kingdom has also banned all public gatherings and demonstrations since the Arab Spring erupted in 2011.

One of these four political prisoners executed was the well-known Shia cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr. Al-Nimr was a powerful and articulate critic of the Saudi government and royal family.

Amnesty International stated that Sheik al-Nimr’s execution showed that Saudi officials were “using the death penalty in the name of counter-terror to settle scores and crush dissidents.”

Reader Supported News spoke with Sheik al-Nimr’s son, Mohammed al-Nimr, just a few weeks after his father’s execution.

Mohammed described his father as someone who believed in the same values as Americans and who wanted all people to have basic things like democracy, freedom, justice, dignity, and human rights.“He was a peaceful man who demanded change in my country because he wouldn’t tolerate any tyranny. He always spoke for the oppressed against the oppressors.”

Mohammed said his father guided Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring protesters in the way of nonviolence. “He demanded peaceful change in the form of democratic elections and he also demanded basic human rights.”

Despite the Saudi government labeling him a terrorist, Mohammed said, “My father was always a strong supporter for peaceful change. He always asked people to be peaceful and not to fall into violence. I never saw my father with a weapon. He once told a protestor, you are right to demand your rights, but don’t engage in even the smallest forms of violence like throwing rocks at riot police.”

Mohammed’s father was first arrested in 2012. A security vehicle rammed into his car, security personnel dragged him out of the car, then finally opened fire on him, striking him 4 times.

When Sheik al-Nimr woke up in the hospital his upper chin was broken and two teeth were missing. “My father underwent an operation to remove the bullets, but the hospital intentionally left one bullet in his thigh to cause him pain.”

Due to his injuries, Sheik al-Nimr suffered an enormous amount of pain, which prevented him from sleeping properly for an entire year. Sheik al-Nimr was also held in solitary confinement for almost four years, the entire time he was imprisoned.

I asked whether the US reached out to help free his father, who believed in democracy, nonviolence, and justice, the very values America claims to stand for. But Mohammed said the US never reached out to him. “They know about the case, but they didn’t do enough to stop the execution.”

In the days after Sheik Nimr’s execution, the White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the White House had “raised concerns” with the Saudi government that executing Sheik Nimr al-Nimr could heighten sectarian tensions.

Mohammed said this is the US government’s way of saying they did their part. “But that’s not enough. You don’t just warn them. He was a peaceful man. The US should have demanded his release and done all they could to stop the execution from happening.”

When asked if he had a message for the American people, Mohammed said, “Your security is in danger. As long as your government supports the Saudi regime, which has a lot of money to support terrorism all over the world, your security is in danger.”

“This Saudi regime supported the Taliban, and the result was al Qaeda. Then the Saudi regime supported the rebels in Syria, and the result was ISIS.”

“Where does the money for all these terror groups come from? It’s the Saudi government’s oil money. The Saudi government pretends to fight terrorist ideology, but their ideology is the root of terrorist ideology. For example, 15 of 19 September 11th hijackers were Saudi. Why is that? Because that’s what they teach people in school.”

“So my message for American citizens is look out for your safety. You don’t want more 9/11 attacks, you don’t want more Paris attacks. That’s what this regime supports, even if the regime shows another face.”

When asked what his father would think of the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran that followed his father’s execution, he said, “I believe if my father was here he would not agree to the attack in Tehran. As I said, he was a peaceful man and would never encourage violence.”

Mohammed said his father’s execution left an enormous impact on him. “My father was really a friend to me. He was a great father and I will have a deep sadness for the rest of my life due to his loss. I know he’s in a better place right now, but the painful thing is that I’m never going to see him, or hear his voice with new words about freedom, justice, dignity and humanity.”

When asked how he planned to attain justice for his father, Mohammed said, “I will make the whole world hear his voice. Make the whole world know what he stood for and what he demanded and not the picture the Saudi government is trying to paint of my father.”

“He was not a violent man. He was just someone who wouldn’t tolerate any tyranny and any oppression against anyone. He would stand up for anyone who is oppressed.”



Paul Gottinger is a staff reporter at RSN whose work focuses on the Middle East and the arms industry. He can be reached on Twitter @paulgottinger or via email.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+47 # publictakeover 2016-02-26 13:36
This is another aspect of US foreign policy assuming the role of British imperialism for the sake of "business interests."

They're always going to tend toward these repressive, pro business governments. So human beings everywhere who care about freedom and democracy under the law must agitate continuously to protect against these parasites.
 
 
+25 # nice2bgreat 2016-02-26 14:13
.
Societies implode from within.
.
 
 
+5 # Cassandra2012 2016-02-27 16:55
Quoting nice2bgreat:
.
Societies implode from within.
.

Yes, we are following the example of the Roman Empire apparently ...
 
 
+36 # danireland46 2016-02-26 18:20
As the article points out: “This Saudi regime supported the Taliban, and the result was al Qaeda. Then the Saudi regime supported the rebels in Syria, and the result was ISIS.”

“Where does the money for all these terror groups come from? It’s the Saudi government’s oil money. The Saudi government pretends to fight terrorist ideology, but their ideology is the root of terrorist ideology. For example, 15 of 19 September 11th hijackers were Saudi. Why is that? Because that’s what they teach people in school.”
Their schools teach lessons from the prophet Mohammed from the Sixth Century, and their message reflects that time, place, and mentality. The power of that mentality can be minimized by getting off the fossil fuel bandstand, which, for the sake of our species, we must do .
 
 
+39 # RevOleson 2016-02-26 18:46
And of course the Bush family loves the Saudis. Remember the photos of Dubya holding hands with his Uncle Saud?
 
 
+33 # curmudgeon 2016-02-26 19:16
DON'T FORGET ....The House of Saud bailed young George from several dark financial places in the 1980-1990s. time frame.
 
 
+26 # harleysch 2016-02-26 21:31
Look at the photo accompanying this article. That's not Bush, but Obama cozying up to the Saudi tyrant. Obama has continued the Bush family embrace of the Saudis, as in his persistent demand for regime change in Syria -- which is the battle cry of the Saudis, and their allied supporters of jihadists, Turkey -- a dangerous government which is also defended by Obama.

Bush Jr. covered up the 28 pages of the Joint Congressional Committee on 9/11 that related to the Saudi role in 9/11. He classified the pages. Obama has refused to lift the classification, despite a promise he made to the Family Members of the Victims of 9/11.

Obama's steadfast support of the Saudi barbarians has put us on a course toward war with Russia. Putin is serious about defeating the terrorists. Obama is not!

Hillary will continue the special relationship with the Saudis. Would Bernie?
 
 
-20 # MidwestTom 2016-02-26 22:46
Don't forget that a Saudi Prince funded Obama's rise from "C" student at Occidental College to political power.
 
 
+19 # MidwestDick 2016-02-26 23:20
You got some serious Obama Derangement Syndrome there my Midwest colleague.You should probably be taking something for that.
 
 
+9 # RLF 2016-02-27 06:47
With a charge like that you must have links!
 
 
+6 # Farafalla 2016-02-27 13:26
Nasty troll, I guess the C student got to be the editor of the Harvard Law Review because.....

Obama's rise to power came from big money in Chicago, not Saudi Arabia.
 
 
+8 # dquandle 2016-02-27 00:43
And Hillary and Obama love the Saudis

https://theintercept.com/2016/02/22/saudi-christmas-present/

and

https://www.yahoo.com/politics/hillary-moneyman-highlights-new-saudi-connection-194828485.html

even though it was reported that:
"The Saudis are funding terrorism worldwide. A Wikileaks-revea led 2009 cable quotes then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide….More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar e-Tayyiba and other terrorist groups.”

from
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/25/ten-reasons-to-oppose-the-saudi-monarchy/

"Bill and Hillary Clinton, one a former president, one a presidential wannabe, seem to be on very good terms with the Saudis:

“Bill Clinton’s presidential library raised more than 10 percent of the cost of its $165 million facility from foreign sources, with the most generous overseas donation coming from Saudi Arabia…

The royal family of Saudi Arabia gave the Clinton facility in Little Rock about $10 million, roughly the same amount it gave toward the presidential library of George H.W. Bush.” "

from
http://www.aim.org/guest-column/hillary-clinton-and-saudi-funny-money-conflict-of-interest/
 
 
+33 # Skeeziks 2016-02-26 18:24
We've known these "men" have been vicious throughout our connections with them. And we have overlooked events throughout. Thanks to their oil. Nothing more. Nothing less. This is how we and they get along in business together. You do not have to look far when you follow the money.
 
 
+30 # reiverpacific 2016-02-26 19:21
This country is the ONY country I've ever refused to go and work in -and I could have named my price.
I met a nurse who had worked there and one of her tasks was to treat people who had had a hand lopped off for stealing.
I wish that the US would take the same stance but then it's a ways off from being a Democracy itself, still has the death penalty and the biggest prison population in the world.
 
 
# Guest 2016-02-26 19:46
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
+21 # economagic 2016-02-26 19:59
Read that statement again -- I too found it unclear. I have been reading reiver's posts for a year or more, and I have no doubt that by "the same stance" he meant his own, and not that of the Saudi authoritarians.

Of course, our own authoritarians are not sufficiently bothered by the acts of those throughout the Middle East to even think about denying them US support.
 
 
# Guest 2016-02-26 21:03
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
+10 # pbbrodie 2016-02-27 13:50
It is fairly obvious, at least to me, that reiverpacific means that he would never work in Saudi Arabia not the US and that he wishes the US would take the same stance as himself.
He hardly posts "some drivel." In fact, his posts are usually very well thought out and to the point. I believe it is your complete misunderstandin g of his post and your condescending remarks that have garnered all of the thumbs down.
You say you believe, "he thinks he some kind of serious writer I guess." You follow this with stating that you write better than he does but that is highly questionable, at best. If you are going to claim to write better than someone else, try not to make a mistake in your previous sentence. It should have been, thinks he (is) some kind of serious writer, I guess.
 
 
+12 # Merlin 2016-02-27 07:20
reiverpacific 2016-02-26 19:21

I too have been reading reiver for years. This post is not one of his clearest.

My take on his meaning is that “this country” refers to SAaudi Arabia, not the US. And the US should be showing compassion for people who are over punished, by lopping off their hands, as the nurse he mentions does.

I expect that reiver’s anger at this situation is part of the reason for the confusing post. Sometimes when we are emotionally involved in something we don’t express ourselves clearly.
 
 
+16 # Robbee 2016-02-26 21:01
whenever did america otherwise?

was there a blessed moment in history when our nation did not make common cause with many dictators, kings and autocratic ruling parties at a time?

do we notice how wary our savior, bernie, is of what he calls "regime change" and "quagmires within quagmires"?

pop quiz - what nation supplies more arms to dictators, kings and autocratic ruling parties than any other?

u.s. and saudis have a marriage made in heaven - we can't get enough of their oil - they can't get enough of our arms!

the author could have written this same story 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago! about governments over all oil rich regions in africa, middle-east and south america

for gops the profits of american corporations always justifies the means, whatever the cost to or/in human beings - by nature, bernie will also consider how policies impact human beings - due to her lesser-progress ive, sincere interest in human lives, i agree with bernie that hill would be infinitely better than any gop candidate - go bernie!

about beheadings i'm with the pope and bernie on this! - i think the outrage is not the manner of execution but the execution itself - for a government, except in self-defense, to take a life is inhumane, a show of insecurity and weakness! - i consider lethal injection no more humane than hanging, firing squad, guillotene, or lopping!
 
 
+12 # Shades of gray matter 2016-02-26 21:07
With fiends like SA & Israel, who needs enemies. Can people really be chopping off ANYTHING in the 21st Century? Bragging that if Prez they will torture, even if victims are innocents and it produces no actionable intel? All in the name of Jesus. Come this Easter Jesus is going back behind the rock. After he goes to see his new movies, of course.
 
 
+24 # MidwestTom 2016-02-26 22:47
Iran is far more cultured thanSaudi Arabia, and we should be befriending them.
 
 
+9 # Majikman 2016-02-26 23:28
First intelligent thing I've heard you say in ages, Tom.
 
 
+22 # dquandle 2016-02-27 00:47
Iran has been a seat of culture for millennia.
Saudi Arabia is the seat of Wahabbist fundamentalism, dictatorship, and oil.
 
 
-7 # Cassandra2012 2016-02-27 16:58
More cultured, but equally devious and manipulative!
 
 
+7 # RLF 2016-02-27 06:42
Don't be so fast to throw the Saudis under the bus...we did that with Saddam, we did that with Mubarack, With Libya, etc...and look what we got. I agree that the reasons we keep then an ally are awful but seems like what is next over there for the people right now is even worse.
 
 
+5 # elkingo 2016-02-27 14:29
In (ahem) "solidarity" with the cretinous asshat Repukes who want to carpet-bomb someplace, how 'bout Saudi Arabia? Elie Wiesel says it is important to assess any political matter by it's moral dimension first. How can The Home of the Brave and The Land of the Free "look itself in the eye" being allies of this insane, barbarous, cruel and terror sponsoring regime? We of course should use our (ahem) "precision munitions" to spare the oil wells, as we will need the oil to pollute the environment and destroy the world.Let's hear it for enlightened politics.

"“He was not a violent man. He was just someone who wouldn’t tolerate any tyranny and any oppression against anyone. He would stand up for anyone who is oppressed.” Yeah.
 
 
+5 # elkingo 2016-02-27 14:35
And say Robbee:
Seems like you are at one with the late fiend Scalia, who didn't mind a protracted agonized death from a botched lethal injection. But I may agree with you if you are suggesting that "discussion" of the best (i.e. "most humane) method of capital punishment (make that state-instigate d and enacted ritual-ceremoni al-counter murder) distracts attention from the sheer question of whether this consummate barbarous vulgarity should exist at all. That's the real question, and the answer is "No"!
 
 
+5 # Kindinosaur 2016-02-28 10:16
let's not get on a pedestal because we are so civilized and progressive that we disintegrate people with "smart bombs" and blast wedding parties with drones--way more civilized than cutting their hands off or dcapitating them.
I haven't seen comment on the fact that we accepted fracking under the disguise of national security and then stuck a clause in the last spending bill to allow them to sell the oil on the international market. We essentially subsidized their profit taking.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN