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Saudi Arabia just gave Shiites their own Che Guevara

Saudi Arabia just gave Shiites their own Che Guevara
A Bahraini protester holds a picture of Nimr al-Nimr as others clash with security forces after Saudi Arabia executed the prominent Shiite cleric on Jan. 2. (Ahmed Alfardan / EPA)

To the editor: By subjecting Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr to the barbarism of capital punishment, the Saudi government does neither itself nor its subjects any service. ("Protesters storm Saudi embassy in Iran after execution of popular Shiite cleric," Jan. 2)

Memories are long in the Middle East. Palestinians will never forget or accept the Nakba, Persians and Arabs have been distrustful of one another for centuries, and now this.

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Rather than seeking to reconcile with the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government has now given Shiites all over the world their own Che Guevara. It will no doubt suffer the consequences of that ill- conceived action over the years and decades to come.

Ronald O. Richards, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is the biggest terrorism-exporting nation in the world, executed a top cleric along with three other critics of the regime. Nimr spoke against the atrocities conducted by the Saudi Arabian government against its own citizens, and for that he paid the ultimate price.

According to Amnesty International, the government of Saudi Arabia gave a death sentence to Nimr for "disobeying the ruler," "inciting sectarian strife" and "encouraging, leading and participating in demonstrations" after a deeply flawed and appalling trial.

How much longer will democratic societies like the United States and those in Europe continue to support repressive regimes like the ones that control Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain?

Sam Zaidi, Upland

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To the editor: Does one imagine the clerics and leaders in Saudi Arabia and in Iran with sly, almost shy smiles as they throw condemnations against each other for daring to perpetrate acts of terrorism?

Iran and Saudi Arabia, the world's two greatest supporters of terrorism, calling each other on the carpet for committing atrocities would be laughable if they weren't so deadly in their execution.

Allan Kandel, Los Angeles 

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