facing a death by beheading and the crucifixion of his body to serve as a warning to others would, in an open culture, not even be sentenced with such a disgusting fate because his right to protest and to freedom of speech would already be well understood. The slim hope that he might be given a pardon by the King is, well, slim. The pace of state executions is a tip-off that mercy isn't a very strong quality with the House of Saud at the moment.
Considering the reaction of the government in sentencing and the increasing harshness, is it plausible to assume the Saudi rulers are in trouble? One takes into account things like the chaos of the Hajj, and the tragic deaths of what might be as many as 1100 persons because of poor security planning. (The government of Iran would like an apology and have implied the Saudi state is very much at fault--and likely to be looking at some regime change inshallah.)
Just as with the case of Raif Badawi, I can not accept the idea of a state corporally punishing a person in this cruel manner for the kind of thing I, as an American, take for granted as being my right to do. This sentence should be pardoned. It is simply appalling.