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UN rights chief slams Saudi mass execution

/ 06:53 PM January 03, 2016
Smoke rises as Iranian protesters set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Protesters upset over the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia set fires to the Saudi embassy in Tehran. (Mohammadreza Nadimi/ISNA via AP)

Smoke rises as Iranian protesters set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Protesters upset over the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia set fires to the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Mohammadreza Nadimi/ISNA via AP

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The U.N.’s top human rights official has strongly criticized Saudi Arabia for executing 47 people in a single day.

Zeid Raad al-Hussein says the execution Saturday was “a very disturbing development indeed, particularly as some of those sentenced to death were accused of non-violent crimes.”

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He says international law only permits the death penalty in cases where the crimes committed are considered “most serious” and human rights bodies have consistently defined those as being “being restricted to murder and other forms of intentional killing.”

In a statement Sunday, he questioned whether due process had been observed during the trials of those executed, all of whom were convicted of terrorism charges.

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Those executed included prominent Shiite opposition figure Nimr Al-Nimr, three other Shiite dissidents and a number of al-Qaida militants.

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TAGS: al-Qaida, Death penalty, News, Nimr Al-Nimr, Saudi Arabia, Shiite dissidents, Terrorism, world
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