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Politics Canadian government decries executions by Saudi Arabia

A Bahraini protester holds a picture of Saudi Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a rally denouncing his execution by Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Daih, Bahrain. Saudi Arabia announced the execution of al-Nimr on Saturday along with 46 others. Al-Nimr was a central figure in protests by Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority until his arrest in 2012, and his execution drew condemnation from Shiites across the region.

Hasan Jamali/AP

The federal government is decrying Saudi Arabia's execution of 47 men accused of terrorism-related offences on Saturday.

Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement that the government will reiterate its call to the government of Saudi Arabia to "protect human rights, respect peaceful expressions of dissent and ensure fairness in judicial proceedings."

Mr. Dion said Canada is particularly concerned about the execution of outspoken Sheikh cleric Nimr al-Nimr, and whether it could inflame sectarian tensions in the region. "We urge Saudi Arabian authorities and local and regional leaders, including those in Iran, to work with all communities to defuse these tensions and promote reconciliation," he said.

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The supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned Saturday that Saudi Arabia would face divine vengeance for the execution of al-Nimr, a day after protesters ransacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. Saudi Arabiafired back, saying Iran had "revealed its true face represented in support for terrorism."

With files from wires

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