Foreign Affairs

Saudi Arabia to crucify Ali Mohammed al-Nimr – because they don't like his uncle


Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth (to cause) corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment (Qur’an [sūrat l-māidah] 5:33).

Our good friends and noble partners Saudi Arabia – to whose living kings we bow and for whose dead kings we lower our national flag as a mark of respect – is about to crucify Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was arrested as a 17-year-old child in 2012 and has been languishing in a Saudi jail ever since. Apparently, the boy’s uncle, Nimr Baqer al-Nimr, is a reformist Shi’ite cleric who has criticised the government, and the nephew is corrupted by association. And the just punishment, according to the Qur’an, for those who infect others with their corruption “is none but that they be killed or crucified”,  which is a barbarous, not to say extremist punishment, which, as we know, is nothing to do with Islam.

Uncle Nimr was sentenced to crucifixion in 2012 for speaking out against the Saudi royal family. His denunciations amounted to pleas for liberty, democracy, the eradication of corruption and an end to discrimination against minorities. He has never fired a bullet or exhorted his followers to rise up in violent revolution: his only ammunition is words. It is a Shi’a/Sunni-Wahabbi spat, and King Salman, like King Abdullah before him, has a Sunni-Wahhabi-Islamic/ist divine vocation to wage jihad against minority Shi’ite heretics for the greater glory of Allah.

When one is accused of “breaking allegiance to the King” or “disrupting national unity”, counter-allegations of sedition, corruption, terrorism or Zionism swiftly (and conveniently) follow. And one is then (conveniently) found guilty of one or more of these offences, each of which carries the particularly harsh sentence of crucifixion, which, in the Saudi variation, appears to consist of being (mercifully) beheaded, followed by the public draping of one’s corpse over a cross of wood and being left to rot. If you happen to be related to to the seditious terrorist, that’s terribly bad luck.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr is 20 or 21 years old now. He, too, has been sentenced to be crucified – which, as we know, is nothing to do with Islam – having (conveniently) been found guilty of “breaking allegiance to the King” as a child. He got caught up in all that ‘Arab Spring’ euphoria, and the Saudi authorities discovered (conveniently) lots of weapons at the boy’s house, which no-one appears to know anything about. He has apparently (not to say conveniently) confessed to his crimes, and so retributive crucifixion – which is nothing to do with Islam – must follow.

The human rights organisation Reprieve say there is evidence that Ali al-Nimr was tortured and his confession obtained by coercive means. He has been denied access to lawyers. His family has appealed, but (conveniently) the case was heard in a secret court and (even more conveniently) dismissed. And so the boy must be crucified, which, as we know, is nothing to do with Islam.

Maya Foa, Director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “No one should have to go through the ordeal Ali has suffered – torture, forced ‘confession,’ and an unfair, secret trial process, resulting in a sentence of death by ‘crucifixion’. But worse still, Ali was a vulnerable child when he was arrested and this ordeal began. His execution – based apparently on the authorities’ dislike for his uncle, and his involvement in anti-government protests – would violate international law and the most basic standards of decency. It must be stopped.”

‘Must’ is a curious imperative to use with a friend and ally. But then “basic standards of decency” don’t really go hand-in-hand with crucifixion (which has nothing to do with Islam). Saudi Arabia is as barbarous as the Islamic State: indeed, they deal with their seditious spies and evil Zionists in exactly the same way – they crucify them (which, as we know, is nothing to do with Islam).

Sheikh al-Nimr is accused not only of “breaking allegiance to the King” and “disrupting national unity”, but of “waging war on God”.

Saudi Arabia is accused of violating human rights by torturing and executing juveniles for no crime other than that of being related to democracy activists.

And Her Majesty’s Government is facilitating these violations and executions through a project called ‘Just Solutions International‘, which was established by the former Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling. As the International Business Times notes, it is “one of those euphemisms that almost certainly covers up a plethora of wickedness”:

JSI is the “commercial arm” of the Ministry for Justice, and it “offers tried and tested products and services from one of the largest and most integrated offender management systems in the world.”

One of the “just solutions” upon which they have embarked is to accept money to “conduct a training needs analysis for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia prison service staff.” What does this entail: How to torture a juvenile? How to affix him to the cross? How much will JSI be paid, 30 pieces of silver?

And so we “cosy up to despots” who crush democrats, hang gays, behead women, flog bloggers and crucify teenagers, all for a multi-million pound contract to support the Saudi regime’s prison system.

The Ministry of Justice is now under new command and control. Michael Gove has interrogated his ministry’s commercial arm ‘Just Solutions International’, and seeks to ensure that its expertise is not abused to procure any unjust solutions anywhere in the world. But the £5.9 million contract to provide ‘training’ and ‘advice’ to Saudi Arabia’s prison system will be honoured.

According to BuzzFeed, “Gove wanted to terminate the entire contract but this was blocked by other government departments who feared that it would damage relations with the Saudis”.

Damage relations with the Saudis? We advise this barbarous regime on its system of retributive justice which hangs gay teenagers, beheads women, flogs bloggers and crucifies democracy activists (which has nothing to do with Islam) for fear of damaging UK trade and investments? By what moral conscience or ethical hesitancy do we not then open diplomatic channels and forge trade agreements with the Islamic State?