Saudi Arabia executed on Saturday 47 people convicted of terrorism, including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. He was arrested in July 2012 for supporting the uprisings against the Saudi government that erupted in 2011. The protests occurred in a Shiite area of the country, which has a Sunni majority.
Nimr was convicted for disobeying the government, inciting sectarian and arms fighting security forces, among other crimes.
Running the cleric angered Iran, regional rival Saudi Arabia is ruled by Shiites. According to the BBC, the Iranian government said that the Saudi regime would “pay dearly” for implementation of Nimr. A minister spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Office also said that Riyadh “supports terrorists while performing and represses critics inside the country.”
Most of the other 46 plays are related to terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia between 2003 and 2006, when al Qaeda carried out a violent campaign to destabilize the government. The executions were carried out in 12 different regions around the kingdom, according to the Ministry of Interior.
Saudi Arabia has conducted more than 150 executions in 2015, the highest number in the kingdom in two decades, according to watchdog groups that monitor the death penalty. In 2014, there were 88 executions.