World

Saudi court sentences iconic Shiite cleric to death, sparking fears of unrest in kingdom

  • FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 file photo, a Saudi anti-government protester carries a poster with the image of jailed Shiite cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr during the funeral of three Shiite Muslims allegedly killed by Saudi security forces in the eastern town of al-Awamiya, Saudi Arabia. Mohammed al-Nimr, the brother of Nimr al-Nimr said Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, on Twitter that his brother has been sentenced to death by a court in Saudi Arabia. Shiite activist Jaafar al-Shayeb in eastern Saudi Arabia says the verdict appears to have been handed down for criminal offenses over the "incitement" of Shiite protests in Saudi Arabia and neighboring Bahrain. The headbands read, "martyrdom is honor and dignity." (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 file photo, a Saudi anti-government protester carries a poster with the image of jailed Shiite cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr during the funeral of three Shiite Muslims allegedly killed by Saudi security forces in the eastern town of al-Awamiya, Saudi Arabia. Mohammed al-Nimr, the brother of Nimr al-Nimr said Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, on Twitter that his brother has been sentenced to death by a court in Saudi Arabia. Shiite activist Jaafar al-Shayeb in eastern Saudi Arabia says the verdict appears to have been handed down for criminal offenses over the "incitement" of Shiite protests in Saudi Arabia and neighboring Bahrain. The headbands read, "martyrdom is honor and dignity." (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Monday, April 1, 2013 file photo, a Bahraini woman holds up a sign opposing death sentences in Saudi Arabia against a Shiite cleric and in Bahrain against a young man facing charges for killing a policeman in 2011, during a funeral in Diraz, Bahrain. Arabic on the sign reads, "Ayatollah Nimr al-Nimr, Ali Yousef al-Taweel, we reject the death sentences." Mohammed al-Nimr, the brother of Nimr al-Nimr said Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, on Twitter that his brother has been sentenced to death by a court in Saudi Arabia. Shiite activist Jaafar al-Shayeb in eastern Saudi Arabia says the verdict appears to have been handed down for criminal offenses over the "incitement" of Shiite protests in Saudi Arabia and neighboring Bahrain. Arabic on her headband reads, "God free our prisoners." (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, April 1, 2013 file photo, a Bahraini woman holds up a sign opposing death sentences in Saudi Arabia against a Shiite cleric and in Bahrain against a young man facing charges for killing a policeman in 2011, during a funeral in Diraz, Bahrain. Arabic on the sign reads, "Ayatollah Nimr al-Nimr, Ali Yousef al-Taweel, we reject the death sentences." Mohammed al-Nimr, the brother of Nimr al-Nimr said Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, on Twitter that his brother has been sentenced to death by a court in Saudi Arabia. Shiite activist Jaafar al-Shayeb in eastern Saudi Arabia says the verdict appears to have been handed down for criminal offenses over the "incitement" of Shiite protests in Saudi Arabia and neighboring Bahrain. Arabic on her headband reads, "God free our prisoners." (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, July 20, 2012 file photo, riot police tear down pictures of prisoners and people who have died in anti-government unrest during clashes with protesters in Jidhafs, Bahrain. At top second right is a picture of Saudi Shiite opposition cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr. Mohammed al-Nimr, the brother of Nimr al-Nimr said Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, on Twitter that his brother has been sentenced to death by a court in Saudi Arabia. Shiite activist Jaafar al-Shayeb in eastern Saudi Arabia says the verdict appears to have been handed down for criminal offenses over the "incitement" of Shiite protests in Saudi Arabia and neighboring Bahrain. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, July 20, 2012 file photo, riot police tear down pictures of prisoners and people who have died in anti-government unrest during clashes with protesters in Jidhafs, Bahrain. At top second right is a picture of Saudi Shiite opposition cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr. Mohammed al-Nimr, the brother of Nimr al-Nimr said Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, on Twitter that his brother has been sentenced to death by a court in Saudi Arabia. Shiite activist Jaafar al-Shayeb in eastern Saudi Arabia says the verdict appears to have been handed down for criminal offenses over the "incitement" of Shiite protests in Saudi Arabia and neighboring Bahrain. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)  (The Associated Press)

The brother of a well-known Shiite cleric says the sheik has been sentenced to death by a court in Saudi Arabia.

Sheik Nimr al-Nimr's brother, Mohammed al-Nimr, announced the verdict Wednesday on Twitter. He also wrote that the family would release a statement with more details.

He had told The Associated Press earlier Wednesday that he would be in the courtroom for the verdict. He could not be immediately reached again for comment.

Shiite activist Jaafar al-Shayeb in eastern Saudi Arabia says the verdict appears to have been handed down for criminal offenses over the "incitement" of Shiite protests in Saudi Arabia and neighboring Bahrain.

He says there is concern that the death sentence of the revered 54-year-old cleric will spark anger and renewed protests by the kingdom's minority Shiites.