Saudi Arabia will execute three prominent scholars who are currently detained on “terrorism” charges after Ramadan, the Middle East Eye reports.
The latest revelation was disclosed to the MEE by two government sources and one of the scholar’s relatives.
The most prominent of the three is Shaykh Salman al-Awdah, who is an internationally renowned known for his stances on Shariah law and Muslim unity.
Shaykh al-Awdah was arrested in September 2017 after tweeting a prayer for peace between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, three months after Riyadh launched a blockade on its fellow Gulf state.
The other two scholars awaiting execution are Shaykh Ali al-Omari, a prominent TV broadcaster, and Shaykh Awad al-Qarni, an academic, author and preacher.
Two Saudi government sources independently confirmed to MEE the plan to execute the three scholars, who are currently awaiting trial at the Criminal Special Court in Riyadh.
A court hearing was set for Wednesday 1 May, but was postponed without setting another date.
One source told MEE: “They will not wait to execute these men once the death sentence has been passed.”
The second Saudi government source said the execution of 37 Saudi citizens, mainly Shia activists, on “terrorism” changes last month was used as a test to see how strongly the international community would condemnation capital punishments.
The source, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “When they found out there was very little international reaction, particularly at the level of governments and heads of state, they decided to proceed with their plan to execute figures who were prominent,”
The timing of the executions has been influenced by the increased tensions between Iran and the U.S.
The first source said: “They are encouraged to do it, especially with the tension in the Gulf at the moment. Washington wants to please the Saudis at the moment. The [Saudi] government calculates that this enables them to get away with this.”
A family member of one of the scholars’ told the MEE: “The executions, if they go ahead, would be very serious, and could present a dangerous tipping point.”
5Pillars have contacted the Saudi Arabian embassy in the UK to comment on the MEE’s report.