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Saudi Arabia Clamps Down On Dissent

Haytham Mouzahem asks whether recent Saudi actions are tied to efforts to quell sectarian dissent and contain any spillover from either the Shiite-based uprising in Bahrain or the Syrian crisis.
A protester holds up a picture of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a rally at the coastal town of Qatif, against Sheikh Nimr's arrest July 8, 2012. Sheikh Nimr, a prominent Shi'ite Muslim cleric who was wanted by the police, was detained in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province on Sunday over calls for more rights for the minority Muslim sect in the Sunni monarchy, his brother and an activist said. REUTERS/Stringer (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST RELIGION POLITICS) - RTR34QU9

Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr, a Saudi senior Shiite cleric, appeared in court this week in Saudi Arabia, while the Shiite community in the kingdom and human rights associations raised concerns about the fairness of his trial.

A month ago, a Saudi prosecutor demanded the death penalty — by crucifixion — for the prominent cleric, who was accused of inciting sectarian strife and terrorist offenses and “insulting the leaders of the Gulf states and (Wahhabi) clerics.”

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