Saudi juvenile’s mother appeals to Obama

October 14, 2015

Images of Ali al-Nimr

The mother of a juvenile set to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia has appealed to President Obama to save her son.

Speaking to the Guardian in an interview published today, Nusra al-Ahmed, the mother of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, said that “Obama can interfere and rescue my son […] To rescue someone from harm, there is nothing greater than that. My son and I are simple people and we don’t carry any significance in this world but despite that, if he [Obama] carried out this act, I feel it would raise his esteem in the eyes of the world. He would be rescuing us from a great tragedy.”

Ali’s sentence of ‘crucifixion’ – beheading followed by the public display of his body – was recently upheld, after his arrest and torture in 2012 for attending protests. Another juvenile arrested at protests, Dawoud al-Marhoon, also faces beheading.

The US Government has expressed ‘concern’ over the case, but has failed to condemn the sentence.

Commenting, Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at human rights organization Reprieve, said:

“Saudi Arabia’s planned executions of Ali al-Nimr and another juvenile, Dawoud al-Marhoon, have rightly caused a global outcry. But the response of the US – the Saudis’ closest ally – to these outrages has been woefully inadequate. The beheading of these two boys, who were arrested and tortured for merely attending protests, would be a grotesque miscarriage of justice. President Obama must listen to the call from Ali’s desperate family, and step in now to urge the Saudis to change course.”


Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: (US) katherine.oshea [AT] / (+1) 917 855 8064 or (UK) alice [DOT] gillham [AT] / +44 (0) 207 553 8140

2. Nusra al-Ahmed’s interview with the Guardian can be seen here.

3. Comments from the US State Department on Ali’s case can be seen here and here.