Saudi Arabia—recently chosen to to head a key United Nations human rights panel—on Saturday executed 47 people convicted of “terrorism,” including at least four convicted of offenses related to political protest.
According to Reuters, the executions took place in 12 cities in Saudi Arabia, with four prisons using firing squads and the others beheading.
Among those killed was prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whom the Guardian reports “had called for pro-democracy demonstrations and whose arrest in 2012 sparked protests in which three people died.”
“Nimr,” the Guardian added, “had long been regarded as the most vocal Shia leader in the eastern Saudi province of Qatif, willing to publicly criticise the ruling al-Saud family and call for elections. He was, however, careful to avoid calling for violence, analysts say.”