Hanging noose
Hanging nooseThinkstock

Saudi Arabia's mission to the United Nations on Monday defended the execution of 47 men, including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, saying all of the accused had been granted fair trials.

"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia reiterates that all convicted persons were granted fair and just trials without any consideration to their intellectual, racial or sectarian affiliation and that the final rulings against them was reached based on their own criminal and illegal actions," said a statement from the Saudi mission quoted by AFP.

Riyadh’s envoy to the UN also said the decision to break off relations with Iran should have no impact on peace efforts in Syria and Yemen.

"From our side, it should have no effect because we will continue to work very hard to support the peace efforts in Syria and Yemen," Saudi Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi told reporters, according to AFP.

Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday after protesters ransacked and set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran over the execution of al-Nimr.

It was followed by Bahrain, which said Monday that it is cutting its diplomatic ties with Iran and called upon Iranian diplomats to leave the kingdom within 48 hours.

Despite the Saudi envoy’s claim that all those executed received a fair trial, Saudi Arabia is notorious for its violations of human rights and specifically those of women, employing a religious police whose job is to enforce Islamic Sharia law.

Yet despite its violation of human rights, Saudi Arabia holds a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, being one of several countries with questionable human rights records to win seats in this body.

Saudi Arabia's envoy to the UNHRC was in September selected to head an influential panel on human rights, despite Riyadh's own poor track record for human rights issues.