saudijska arabija.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Saly Bechsin, used under CC BY-ND

Prominent Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr was among 47 people executed Saturday after convictions on terrorism and incitement to violence charges, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

In October, a top Saudi court confirmed a death sentence against al-Nimr for inciting sectarian strife in the mostly Sunni kingdom.

Al-Nimr, 55, has in the past demanded increased rights for the Shiite minority, who make up some 15 per cent of the Saudi population.

He threatened to lead the country's oil-rich eastern region to secession if the monarchy did not change its policy, but also urged non-violent protests.

A list of the executed, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), included 45 Saudi nationals, an Egyptian man and a Chadian man.

The executions were carried out after death sentences against the inmates were confirmed by the country's top court and ratified by King Salman, SPA said.

Saudi Arabia, which applies a strict interpretation of Islamic law, is among the world's top executors.

The kingdom has repeatedly rejected calls to end the death penalty, saying the punishment is aimed at deterring would-be offenders.

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