MEPs have passed a resolution with an overwhelming majority urging Saudi King Salman to offer clemency to Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was sentenced to death in August for protesting against the government. He was 17 at the time. Under the terms of the sentence he will be beheaded then crucified.The case is the latest in a string of human rights controversies involving Saudi Arabia and follows their appointment to a key panel on the United Nation's Human Rights Council.
Christos Styliandes, European humanitarian aid and crisis management Commissioner, opened proceedings by highlighting the strong support for the resolution from EU institutions saying, "the case has allowed us to find a broad consensus."
Ignazio Corrao, a member of Parliament's subcommittee on human rights (DROI), took up the case, drawing attention to Riyadh's existing poor human rights record and the EU's own relationship with the country.
He said, "Saudi Arabia is a country we consider a partner, a country we don't want to condemn. However it is a country with one of the worst records for human rights violations in the world."
He called for immediate EU action saying, "Saudi Arabia is a country which should be condemned and sanctioned," otherwise all the EU's talk on human rights "means nothing."