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Saudi Releases Shiite Prisoner Al-Nimr Jailed for Protests

FILE - Ali al-Nimr, a Saudi youth facing the death penalty for taking part in pro-reform protests, poses for a photo at an unknown location, in an undated handout picture released by on September 23, 2015.

Ali al-Nimr, a Saudi from the Shiite minority who received a death sentence that was later commuted, was released Wednesday after years in prison for taking part in anti-government protests.

"Ali al-Nimr, a young man detained since 2012 for participating in protests when he was a child, and who previously faced a death sentence, has been released today," ALQST for Human Rights said on Twitter.

Also on Twitter, his sister said, "after ten years, my brother is free, thank God."

Ali al-Nimr is a nephew of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr who was executed by Saudi Arabia in 2016, leading to a rupture of diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Tehran.

Ali al-Nimr was handed a death sentence along with two other underage Saudis from the Shiite community in 2012, after taking part in protests against the Sunni ruled kingdom.

In April 2020, the authorities said that the kingdom would stop imposing death sentences on people guilty of crimes committed when younger than 18.

The reform comes in a country that has one of the highest execution rates in the world.