Rafsanjani Writes to Saudi King on Cleric Verdict

Rafsanjani Writes to Saudi King on Cleric Verdict

Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has urged Saudi King Abdullah to overturn the death sentence for prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
In a letter to the Saudi king, Rafsanjani said, “We believe at this juncture in history that discord and intrigues have targeted the integrity of the Muslim world, nullification of this ruling could disappoint divisive forces and strengthen unity among Shiites and Sunnis in the Muslim world,” IRNA quoted him as saying.
Rafsanjani, chairman of the Expediency Council, has had close ties with the Saudi leader, and Saudi officials have invited Rafsanjani to the kingdom on a number of occasions.
“The Muslim world expects you to take that decision,” Rafsanjani added.
A Saudi court recently sentenced Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, an outspoken cleric from the predominantly Shiite Eastern Province who has led protests for greater rights for Shiites and an end to discrimination by the Sunni authorities, to death on charges of “sedition”.
Many of Saudi Arabia’s estimated two million Shiites live in the east, where most of the wealthy kingdom’s oil reserves lie, and many complain of marginalization. The death sentence has drawn widespread criticism from Iranian officials and clerics.


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