The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on Saudi Arabia, most recently that of 11 February 2015;

– having regard to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

having regard to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

– having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

– having regard to the Arab Charter on Human Rights, ratified by Saudi Arabia in 2009;

– having regard to the European Union Guidelines on Torture and Ill-treatment;

– having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure;

A. whereas Saudi Arabia has been described as having arguably one of the worst human rights record in the world with international concerns repeatedly raised about the use of the death penalty, access to justice, women’s rights, and restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion or belief;

B. whereas the pace, number and nature of executions in Saudi Arabia remains a matter of international concern; whereas more than 90 individuals were executed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2014, mostly by public beheading;

C. whereas Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was just 17-years-old when he was arrested in 2011 for his alleged role in a demonstration in the wake of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprising; whereas he was sentenced to death aged 18 having allegedly been tortured into signing a false confession;

D. whereas Mr al-Nimr’s final appeal against conviction was held in secret and without his knowledge; whereas he can be crucified at any time and without prior notification to his family; whereas his execution would be illegal under international law;

E. whereas the United Nations has called on Saudi Arabia to immediately halt Mr al-Nimr’s execution and give him a fair re-trial;

F. whereas executing someone for a crime committed as a juvenile is incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations;

G. whereas despite the introduction of cautious reforms under King Salman, the Saudi political and social system remains profoundly undemocratic and severely represses all voices of dissent;

H. whereas Saudi Arabia is an influential and important political and economic actor within the Middle East and North Africa region, with a close relationship to countries around the world, including in the European Union;

1. Condemns the sentencing to death and reported method of execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr for a crime he is alleged to have committed as a minor;

2. Calls on the Saudi authorities to immediately withdraw the threat of execution and conduct an immediate investigation into allegations Mr al-Nimr was tortured into giving a false confession;

3. Expresses serious concerns that Mr al-Nimr did not receive a fair trial or access to legal representation in line with accepted international standards, and reports that he is being punished because his uncle is the prominent Shia religious leader and human rights activist, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr;

4. Calls for Mr al-Nimr to be given a fair re-trial and full access to legal representation; further believes that any punishment in the event of a guilty verdict should be proportionate and in line with accepted international standards;

5. Reminds Saudi Arabia of its commitments as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council; notes that Saudi Arabia has recently been appointed to chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council; strongly urges the Saudi authorities to ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms in their country are consistent with such a prestigious international role;

6. Notes that while the process of judicial reform in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seeks to strengthen the protection of individual rights, this still falls well-short of accepted international standards;

7. Calls on the Saudi authorities to adhere to existing international conventions on torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane or degrading punishments, including those which the Kingdom has already ratified;

8. Firmly believes that significant institutional change in Saudi Arabia is needed to protect the human rights of its residents;

9. Urges the Saudi authorities to abolish a special criminal court, established in 2008, to try terrorism cases but which has been frequently used to prosecute peaceful protestors on politically motivated charges;

10. Calls for an enhanced mechanism for dialogue with Saudi Arabia on human rights issues and an exchange of expertise on justice and legal matters in order to strengthen the protection of individual rights in the Kingdom;

11. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EEAS, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, Hi Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Secretary General of the United Nations, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Speaker of the Majlis as-Shura.

European Parliament resolution on the case of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr – Saudi citizen condemned to death