TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Three prominent Saudi scholars held on multiple charges of “terrorism” will be sentenced to death and executed shortly after the holy month of Ramadan, a report said.
The London-based online news outlet Middle East Eye, citing two unnamed Saudi government sources, reported on Tuesday that the three men are Sheikh Salman al-Ouda, Sheikh Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari.
Odah was arrested in September 2017 shortly after tweeting a prayer for reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf neighbor Qatar, three months after Riyadh launched a blockade on Doha.
The other two slated for execution are Awad al-Qarni, a Sunni preacher, academic and author, and Ali al-Omari, a popular broadcaster. They too were arrested in September 2017.
Two Saudi government sources independently confirmed the plan to execute the three men, who are currently awaiting trial at the Criminal Special Court in Riyadh. A hearing was set for May 1 but was postponed without setting a further date.
One source said, “They will not wait to execute these men once the death sentence has been passed.”
A second Saudi government source said the execution of 37 Saudis, mostly Shiite activists, on “terrorism charges” in April was used as a trial balloon to see how strong the international condemnation was.
The detention of the three scholars has already provoked the condemnation of the United Nations as well as rights groups Human Rights Watch (HRW), Reprieve and Amnesty International.
Saudi Arabia has stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners.