Last updated: 1 December, 2015

Saudi death row cleric in ‘high spirits’: brother

Saudi death row Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr is in high spirits despite reports he is at risk of imminent execution, his brother said on Monday after visiting the sheikh.

“He’s good, very well, high spirits. His health is very good and he is ready for anything, even for death,” Jaffar al-Nimr told AFP.

The brother spoke after he and several other family members, including Nimr’s mother, spent about one hour with him at Al-Hair prison near Riyadh.

Nimr was a driving force behind protests that erupted in 2011 in eastern Saudi Arabia, where most of the Shiite minority live.

The protests developed into a call for equality in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, where many Shiites have complained of marginalisation.

Amnesty International said on Thursday that he was among six Shiite activists at imminent risk of execution who were “clearly convicted in unfair trials”.

The London-based human rights group said the six were among a total of 50 people who could soon be put to death in a single day.

Media “close to the Saudi Arabian authorities” had reported on the execution plans, Amnesty said.

Nimr is not concerned by those stories, his brother said, accusing the interior ministry of sometimes issuing reports in order to gauge public reaction.

But Nimr’s family are still “very worried,” he said.

Among the other activists who Amnesty said are at risk of imminent execution is Nimr al-Nimr’s nephew Ali al-Nimr, who was 17 when he was arrested following the protests for reform.

Ali al-Nimr is also detained at Al-Hair prison, and his father is to visit him in three weeks, Jaffar al-Nimr said.