The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia carried out 47 executions earlier Saturday, including that of Saudi Shi’ite Cleric Nimr Al-Nimr.
Following the news of the executions, the European Union reiterated its strong opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, and in particular in cases of mass executions.
Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, said, “The specific case of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr raises serious concerns regarding freedom of expression and the respect of basic civil and political rights, to be safeguarded in all cases, also in the framework of the fight against terrorism.”
According to Mogherini, “This case has also the potential of enflaming further the sectarian tensions that already bring so much damage to the entire region, with dangerous consequences.”
The EU called on the Saudi authorities to promote reconciliation between the different communities in the Kingdom, and all actors to show restraint and responsibility.
Similarly, the executions have drawn the ire of the United States.
“The United States also urges the Government of Saudi Arabia to permit peaceful expression of dissent and to work together with all community leaders to defuse tensions in the wake of these executions,” said John Kirby
Spokesperson for the US Bureau of Public Affairs in a statement.
“We are particularly concerned that the execution of prominent Shia cleric and political activist Nimr al-Nimr risks exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced,” Kirby said.
“In this context, we reiterate the need for leaders throughout the region to redouble efforts aimed at de-escalating regional tensions,” Kirby added.