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Saudi execution risks fueling sectarian tensions: US

Saudi Shiite women hold placards bearing a portrait of prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr during a protest against his execution by Saudi authorities, on January 2, 2016 in the eastern costal city of QatifThe US also urged Riyadh to “respect and protect” human rights, said State Department spokesman John Kirby, following the execution of Nimr al-Nimr. The executions sparked angry condemnation from Shiite-majority Iran and Iraq, while the EU similarly expressed concern about possible “dangerous consequences” in a region already fraught with sectarian tensions. “The United States also urges the government of Saudi Arabia to permit peaceful expression of dissent and to work together with all community leaders to defuse tensions in the wake of these executions,” Kirby said in a statement.

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