He’s in solitary confinement – I fear he could be executed at any moment

Images of Ali al-Nimr

Ali al-Nimr was just 17 years old when he was sentenced to death after attending a protest. He was accused of participation in an illegal demonstration and other offences, including “explaining how to give first aid to protestors” and using his blackberry to invite others to join him at the protest.

Ali’s family have not seen their son since 15th September. It has now emerged that Ali and a second juvenile are now being held in solitary confinement in a prison in Riyadh.

His father has spoken of his uncertainty and concern about the fate of his son.

“I’m very worried now, because they’ve moved my son to a prison in Riyadh, and he’s in solitary confinement – I fear he could be executed at any moment.”

Mohammed al-Nimr, Ali’s father

Ali was among several other young men sentenced to death in the wake of protests, including Dawoud al-Marhoon, whose sentence of beheading was upheld last week.

Both Ali and Dawoud received death sentences after being tortured into ‘confessions’ used to convict them in the country’s secretive Specialized Criminal Court. Executions are shrouded in secrecy in Saudi Arabia, and it is possible that both juveniles could now be executed at any time, without prior notification to their families.

However, speaking to Al Jazeera this week, the Saudi representative to the UN, suggested that Ali’s case was still “being reviewed in legal circles”, ahead of his execution receiving the “personal approval of the King”.

Concerns over the UK’s position come amid growing calls for firmer interventions from close allies of Saudi Arabia, such as the UK and the US. Yesterday, the European Parliament passed a resolution that called on member states – including the UK – to “deploy all their diplomatic tools and make every effort to immediately stop the execution” of Ali and others arrested at protests.

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At any moment, without the prior notification of his family, Ali may be executed by the Saudi authorities.

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