Iranian protesters have broken into the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran after Riyadh announced the execution of Shia religious leader Nimr al-Nimr, one of 47 men killed on terrorism charges. The Saudi interior ministry announced the executions on Saturday, listing the names of the 47 killed, all of whom had been convicted on charges of terrorism. Aljazeera has more:
The ministry said those convicted had plotted or participated in attacks against residential compounds and government buildings. Nimr, who led anti-government protests in the country’s east, was previously convicted of sedition, disobedience and bearing arms. Nimr did not deny the political charges against him, but said he never carried weapons or called for violence.
Many of the other men executed had been linked to attacks in the kingdom between 2003 and 2006, blamed on al-Qaeda. Faris al-Zahrani, described by Saudi media as al-Qaeda’s top religious leader in the kingdom, was one of those executed. An Egyptian citizen and a Chadian citizen were also among the executed, the ministry said. The rest were all Saudis.
Despite calls for calm from Nimr’s brother following the announcement of the executions, a number of protesters gathered at the Saudi embassy in Iran’s capital Tehran, to protest the religious leader’s death. Several of the protesters gained access to the embassy building and started fires, before eventually being removed from the compound by police late on Saturday night.