Thursday, October 13, 2011

Saudi Arabia: Stop Arbitrary Arrests of Shia

Arbitrary Detentions Spark Clashes in Eastern Province

Human Rights Watch
October 11, 2011

"(Beirut) – Clashes in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Provinceshow the urgent need for Saudi officials to stop arbitrary arrests of peaceful protesters, relatives of wanted persons, and human rights activists, Human Rights Watch said today.

Interior Ministry officials said that the clashes, which broke out in ‘Awwamiyya, a Shia town, on October 3, 2011, and continued into the next day, injured 11 security personnel and three citizens, two of them women. Sources on the ground told Human Rights Watch that the likely trigger was the arrest on October 2 of two elderly residents of ‘Awwamiyya – Hasan Al Zayid, in his 70s, and Sa’id al-‘Abd al-‘Al, in his 60s – to pressure their sons to give themselves up to the police. The sons were wanted in connection with peaceful demonstrations from February to June in the Eastern Province.

Seizing the elderly and infirm father of a wanted man to force him to surrender is thuggish through and through,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Even more so when the state was pursuing the man for nothing more than peaceful activism.”......"

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