Saudi Arab

Saudi Shiites urge release of political inmates

saudi shia protestProtesters have taken to the streets in the central Saudi Arabian province of al-Qassim, calling for the release of political prisoners
Dozens of demonstrators took part in the rally, held in Buraidah, the province’s capital, on Monday, to voice their opposition to the detention of political activists.
The protesters also condemned the detention of dozens of women and children, who were arrested last week in a peaceful demonstration to demand the release of their detained relatives.

A similar demonstration was held on Sunday in the Qatif region, with protesters calling for the immediate release of senior cleric Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amer.

Al-Amer was arrested last year for criticizing the ruling Al Saud monarchy.

Since February 2011, protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in Qatif and Awamiyah in Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, as well as an end to widespread discrimination.

However, the demonstrations turned into protests against the repressive Al Saud regime, especially after November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the province.

In October, Saudi authorities warned that they would deal “firmly” with protests after hundreds of Saudis gathered outside the Tafiya prison, north of Riyadh, in September to demand the release of their relatives.

Amnesty International has criticized the country over the warning and urged the authorities to “withdraw their threat.”


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