According to Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia carried out its largest mass execution in the country since 1980, when it put 47 men to death on January 2nd, 2016. Among those executed was Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric whose death has sparked a diplomatic crisis in the Middle East. We’ll take a look at what’s behind the rise in executions in Saudi Arabia with Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division.
PHOTO: A picture of Saudi Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, left, is seen partly painted over by authorities on a wall in the largely Shiite western town of Malkiya, Bahrain, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. Allies of Saudi Arabia, including the monarchy in neighboring Bahrain, began scaling down their diplomatic ties to Iran in the wake of the ransacking of Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran that followed al-Nimr's execution. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)