Saudi Arabia has executed 47 people for terrorism offences in one day, including the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the kingdom’s interior minister said.

Most of those executed were Sunnis who were convicted of involvement in the deadly 2003 and 2004 al-Qaeda attacks that killed Saudis and foreigners.

The ministry statement, published on the official SPA news agency, said the 47 had been convicted of adopting the radical “takfiri” ideology, joining “terrorist organisations” and implementing various “criminal plots”. The executions are Saudi Arabia’s first in 2016.

Mr al-Nimr was a vocal supporter of the mass anti-government protests that flared up in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province in 2011, where a Shia majority have long complained of marginalisation.

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