WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Sunday, US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby said the United States was concerned about Saudi Arabia executing Shiite cleric and political activist Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others over the weekend on charges of terrorism.
"The [US] statement from the other day was fairly mild," Human Rights Watch Middle East researcher Adam Coogle told Sputnik on Monday. "Considering some of the rhetoric you would see about the crimes of the [Bashar] Assad regime in Syria or the Iranian human rights abuses, you don’t see the same level of condemnation."
The United States, Coogle noted, should take a stronger moral stand in public statements against the executions and call on Saudi Arabia to clean up its justice system.
"We’ve noted a few due process violations particularly in the case of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr," Coogle added. "It’s pretty shameful that after a process that had those kind of violations you could actually end up being executed."
The United States often claims that they raise these types of human rights issues with Saudi Arabia bilaterally in direct discussions, Coogle said, but condemning these actions in stronger terms publicly could pressure Riyadh to change its policies.
"Saudi Arabia wouldn’t like it, the relationship might suffer a bit," Coogle claimed. "But it could lead to curtailing some of the really negative Saudi abuses."
Earlier on Monday, Human Rights Watch condemned the Saudi mass executions over the weekend calling the act a shameful start to 2016.
The Shiite cleric’s execution prompted attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in Mashhad.
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said the United States was concerned with the worsening human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and would condemn any country that is carrying out mass executions.