Mother of Saudi man sentenced to crucifixion begs Obama to intervene | World Defense

Mother of Saudi man sentenced to crucifixion begs Obama to intervene


Dec 26, 2014
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Mother of Saudi man sentenced to crucifixion begs Obama to intervene | World news | The Guardian

The mother of a Saudi protester sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion has begged Barack Obama to intervene to save her son’s life.

In her first interview with foreign media, Nusra al-Ahmed, the mother of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, whose case has made headlines around the world, described the intended punishment as savage and “backwards in the extreme”.

Human rights groups including Amnesty International and Reprieve, the US talkshow host Bill Maher and the British prime minister, David Cameron, have all weighed in with calls for clemency to stop Nimr, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, from being beheaded and then crucified.

The oil-rich state is facing increasing diplomatic scrutiny over the severity of its penal system as it takes over the chair of the UN human rights council.

Asked how she was coping knowing that at any moment her son could be put to death following the Saudi supreme court’s rejection of his appeal, Ahmed said: “For other people every hour is composed of 60 minutes, but for me every hour is 60 beats of pain.”

She said her son had been detained sometime after joining Shia demonstrators in the eastern coastal city of Qatif seeking equal religious rights in the Sunni-majority country.

The official charges levelled against Nimr included attending a protest, using his phone to encourage further support for the demonstrations and possessing a gun, an accusation which the family strongly denies.

“They were peaceful and civilised and legitimate and so my fear was, I was afraid for my son, but inside I agreed with them in principle.”

She said that before his arrest Nimr was a quick learner who loved swimming, football and photography, and also a devoted son. “At home when he saw me cooking … he would offer to help me cook, cut the onion or slice the potatoes. This was his temperament completely.”

Visiting after his arrest, she alleged he had been tortured. “When I visited my son for the first time I didn’t recognise him. I didn’t know whether this really was my son Ali or not. I could clearly see a wound on his forehead. Another wound in his nose. They disfigured it. Even his body, he was too thin.”

“[When] I started talking to him [he told me that] during the interrogation [he was] being kicked, slapped, of course his teeth fell out … For a month he was peeing blood. He said he felt like a mass of pain, his body was no more.”

She still had hope her son could be saved from his punishment imposed under Saudi’s sharia penal system and described the sentence – which would involve him being beheaded before his decapitated body is hung from a cross in public – as having been plucked out of the dark ages.

"I feel that one’s very being is repelled at such a ruling … It’s backwards in the extreme. No sane and normal human being would rule against a child of 17 years old using such a sentence. And why? He didn’t shed any blood, he didn’t steal any property. Where did they get it [this sentence]? From the dark ages?”

She believes the sentence was intended to punish her son for his Shia faith. “I don’t expect that anyone normal and sane has heard of such a thing, [no] normal person who is not sectarian would find such a thing acceptable. That’s why you find that always it’s sectarian people who are happy with such things because he’s a Shia.”

Calling on the US president to intervene she said: “He is the head of this world and he can, he can interfere and rescue my son … To rescue someone from harm, there is nothing greater than that. I mean 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.”