The Qatif unrest is an ongoing (as of 2019[update]) conflict in the Qatif region of Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia, between the Saudi Government and Shia community. It began after an incident on 12 May 2017, when a child and a Pakistani man were shot and killed. The detention of Qatif human rights activist Israa al-Ghomgham and her husband and the possible beheading of al-Ghomgham as the first Saudi woman to be executed for her human rights activities gained international attention during 2018.
Background[edit | edit source]
On 15 October 2014, Nimr al-Nimr was sentenced to death by the Specialised Criminal Court for "seeking 'foreign meddling' in Saudi Arabia, 'disobeying' its rulers and taking up arms against the security forces". Said Boumedouha of Amnesty International stated that the death sentence was part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent, including those defending the rights of the Kingdom's Shi'a Muslim community. Nimr al-Nimr's brother, Mohammad al-Nimr, tweeted information about the death sentence and was arrested on the same day. The head of Iran's armed forces warned Saudi Arabia that it would "pay dearly" if it carried out the execution.
In March 2015 the Saudi Arabian appellate court upheld the death sentence against al-Nimr. On 25 October 2015, the Supreme Religious Court of Saudi Arabia rejected al-Nimr's appeal against his death sentence. During an interview for Reuters, al-Nimr's brother claimed that the decision was a result of a hearing which occurred without the presence or notification of al-Nimr's lawyers and family. Al-Nimr's brother still remained hopeful that King Salman would grant a pardon. Nimr al-Nimr was executed along with 46 others on 2 January 2016.
Low-level conflict and legal cases[edit | edit source]
In early December 2017, Israa al-Ghomgham and her husband Moussa al-Hashem were arrested in their home and detained in the Dammam al-Mabahith prison. They were charged for their activities in relation to participation and documentation of the Qatif political protests. On 6 August 2018, the prosecutor in their case recommended that they be executed, making al-Ghomgham the first Saudi women to be sentenced to death for human rights campaigning, according to Saudi activists. Al-Ghomgham and her husband's potential death sentence gained international attention, with support for their case from Shia Rights Watch, the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights, Amnesty International, and Global Affairs Canada. Al-Ghomgham's final sentencing for confirming of rejecting the proposed death penalty was planned for 28 October 2018.
Timeline[edit | edit source]
2017[edit | edit source]
- 12 May – Saudi soldiers shot and killed a two-and-a-half-year-old child and a young man in the town of Awamiyah. Lebanon's al-Ahed news claimed that the mother of the child was critically injured. However, the Saudi Government claimed that terrorists were responsible for the incident.
- 16 May – A Saudi soldier was killed and five more were wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade in a district of al-Awamiya in operations to counter the militants.
- 1 June – Two people were killed in a car explosion in Al-Qatif just before Maghrib prayers. Three men involved in the attack managed to escape and are currently being hunted by security officers in the area.
- 11 June – One soldier was killed and two wounded after a bomb attack in the town of Al-Awamiyah.
- 4 July – A Saudi policeman was killed and three others injured by an explosive device in a flashpoint Shiite-dominated city.
- 6 July – A Saudi policeman was killed and six others injured by an explosive device next to a police patrol in the village of Al-Awamiyah near Al-Qatif.
- 14 July – A Saudi soldier was killed and another was wounded in a shooting attack on their patrol vehicle in Qatif province.
- 26–27 July – five people killed during Police raids in Awamiya, according to activists.
- 30 July – A Saudi police officer was killed and six others wounded when a patrol came under attack in the town of Awamiya.
- 3 August – A Saudi citizen was killed and another injured during an operation to secure families wishing to leave Awamiya, after an armed attack by terrorists on a bus.
- 7 November – Saudi security staff killed in Qatif.
- 6 or 8 December – human rights activists Israa al-Ghomgham and her husband arrested.
- 19 December – Al Arabiya sources confirmed that terrorist Salman Ali Salman al-Faraj was killed in Awamiya, eastern province of Saudi Arabia, after confrontations with the police forces.
- 19 December – The body of Shiite Sheikh Mohammed al-Jirani, who had been kidnapped a year earlier by Shiite militants in the Eastern Province, was found in Qatif during a security raid.
2018[edit | edit source]
- 16 January – The Saudi Presidency of State Security announced that wanted fugitive Abdullah Mirza al-Qallaf was killed in a security operation in al-Qatif.
- 5 April – A Saudi soldier was killed in a raid against militants in the city of Al-Awamiyah in the eastern province of Qatif in Saudi Arabia. Several weapons and explosives were found. The security forces foiled terrorist attacks after the operation.
- 6 August – prosecutor calls for death penalty for Israa al-Ghomgham and her husband.
- 28 October – scheduled date of final sentence for Israa al-Ghomgham and her husband.
References[edit | edit source]
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