Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saudi Arabia must release detained activist on hunger strike

Amnesty International
13 April 2012

"The Saudi Arabian authorities must release a prominent human rights activist who is reported to have been on hunger strike for five weeks in protest at his continuing unfair imprisonment, Amnesty International said.

Mohammed Saleh al-Bajady, co-founder of the unregistered NGO the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), has reportedly refused to take water since last weekend - heightening fears for his health.

He has been held since his arrest on 21 March 2011, a day after he attended a protest in the capital Riyadh by families of detainees arbitrarily held.

Charged with being a member of ACPRA, harming the reputation of the state and having banned books in his possession, Mohammed Saleh al-Bajady has been on trial since August at the Specialized Criminal Court, which was set up to try terrorism and security-related offences.

"Mohammed Saleh al-Bajady is a prisoner of conscience held solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association. All charges against him should be dropped and he should be released immediately," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa programme.

"His hunger strike makes his release all the more urgent as his health must be deteriorating with each day he refuses food and water."....."

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