Dozens Arrested in Saudi Crackdown


RIYADH: Saudi security forces arrested dozens of prominent members Shia community in their fresh crackdown across the kingdom over the past days following wave of pro-democracy protests, rights activists said on Tuesday.

The arrests include Dr Abbas Al Abbad, who works at the Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, university professor Ali Al Haji and banker Ahmad Al Nasser, said the activists.

The three who were arrested in the capital are originally from Al Ahsa city, in the oil rich Eastern Province, where the kingdom’s Shia minority is concentrated.

Security forces also simultaneously arrested Ebrahim Al Humaidi in the capital, and his brother Hussain in the town of Sihat, Gulf News reported.

In the western city of Jeddah, police arrested Shia cleric Mohammad Al Attiyah, while another religious leader Badr Al Taleb was arrested in Makkah, activists said, adding that another cleric Abdullah Khamis was arrested in Ahsa.

Since early 2011, mainly Shiite towns in the Eastern Province have seen sporadic protests and confrontations between police and residents who complain of marginalisation.

Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz on January 14 appointed Prince Saud Bin Nayef the new governor of the Eastern Province, replacing Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd who was in office since 1985 but was strongly criticised by activists for his aggressive policy towards the minority community. Agencies



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