New York

2 January 2016

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on executions in Saudi Arabia

The Secretary-General is deeply dismayed over the recent execution by Saudi Arabia of 47 people, including the cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, as announced on 2 January by the country’s Interior Ministry. Sheik al-Nimr and a number of the other prisoners executed had been convicted following trials that raised serious concerns over the nature of the charges and the fairness of the process.

The Secretary-General had raised the case of Sheikh al-Nimr with the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions.

The Secretary-General reiterates his strong stance against the death penalty. He points to the growing movement in the international community for the abolition of capital punishment and urges Saudi Arabia to commute all death sentences imposed in the Kingdom.

The Secretary-General also calls for calm and restraint in reaction to the execution of Sheikh Nimr and urges all regional leaders to work to avoid the exacerbation of sectarian tensions. He deplores the violence by demonstrators against the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.