Ali al Nimr, who was arrested and sentenced to death for attending a pro-democracy protest as a teen in Saudi Arabia, has had his sentence reduced to 10 years by the Specialized Criminal Court today.
A Royal Decree announced last year – but not yet published – declared the end of the death penalty for crimes committed by children. Ali’s sentence reduction shows the decree in action.
Ali has spent over nine years on death row. According to the ruling, he should be released from prison this year.
Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission has announced that two other young men sentenced to death for childhood crimes, Dawood al-Marhoun and Abdullah al-Zaher, have also been re-sentenced to ten years in prison in line with the decree. This remains unconfirmed.
Reprieve’s Director Maya Foa said: “It feels odd to talk about progress when a young man has spent nearly a decade on death row for attending a peaceful demonstration, but today’s ruling is clearly a positive step. Ali al-Nimr should now be freed later this year. But true change isn’t about a few high-profile cases; it means making sure no-one is ever sentenced to death for a childhood ‘crime’ again in Saudi Arabia.”