Saudi Arabia has executed 47 people for terrorism, including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and al-Qaeda-affiliated Faris al-Zahrani.
Most of those executed on Saturday were involved in a series of attacks carried out by al-Qaeda from 2003 to 2006, the interior ministry said.
A list of the executed, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Sunday, included 45 Saudi nationals, an Egyptian man and a Chadian man.
Saudi Arabia Supreme Court upholds death sentence on Shia cleric.
In October 2015, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the death sentence passed earlier on Nimr, 55, who had called for pro-democracy demonstrations and whose arrest in 2012 sparked protests in which three people died.
Nimr had long been regarded as the most vocal Shia leader in the eastern Saudi province of Qatif, willing to publicly criticize the ruling al-Saud family and call for elections.
He has in the past demanded increased rights for the Shiite minority, who make up some 15% of the Saudi population.
He also threatened to lead the country’s oil-rich eastern region to secession if the monarchy did not change its policy.
He was, however, careful to avoid calling for violence, analysts say.
That did not prevent the Saudi interior ministry from accusing him of being behind attacks on police, alongside a group of other suspects it said were working on behalf of Shia Iran, the kingdom’s main regional rival.
Nimr’s brother said he was found guilty of seeking “foreign meddling” in the kingdom, “disobeying” its rulers and taking up arms against the security forces.
Al-Zahrani, affiliated to al-Qaeda, once considered one of Saudi Arabia’s “most wanted terrorists”, was detained in 2004 while allegedly in possession of weapons.
The executions are Saudi Arabia’s first in 2016. At least 157 people were put to death last year, a big increase from the 90 people killed in 2014.
“The Saudi Arabian authorities appear intent on continuing a bloody execution spree,” Amnesty’s report released on Monday said, quoting James Lynch, deputy director at the Middle East and North Africa programme.