Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who has been a critic of both the Saudi and Bahraini governments, was sentenced to death by the Specialized Criminal Court in Saudi Arabia, and Alhurra has been providing continuing coverage of the reaction. Al-Nimr was found guilty several charges including not obeying King Abdullah, not pledging allegiance to the king or state and incitement of violence. Amnesty International called the verdict an attempt by Saudi authorities to “crush all dissent.” Alhurra covered the verdict and reaction within its newscasts, and the network’s weekly human rights program, Eye on Democracy, looked at the reaction with American, Saudi, Iranian and Lebanese analysts. During the discussion, Saudi political analyst Ebrahim Alhatlani stated that this punishment is not because al-Nimr is Shiite; that this would be the punishment for any opposition figure who speaks out against the Kingdom, regardless of their sect.
Alhurra.com also reported on the story and hosted a poll in which nearly 1 million people voted (46 percent supporting the death sentence and 54 percent do not support the sentence). The story has been viewed approximately 2.1 million times on Alhurra.com and shared by more than 37,000 people, making it the most popular story in the history of Alhurra.com. Analytics show that 61 percent of the readers came from Saudi Arabia.