Thursday, December 1, 2011
The last nine months has seen a new wave of repression in Saudi Arabia as the authorities have cracked down on protesters and reformists, Amnesty International said today as it published a new report on the issue.
In Saudi Arabia: Repression in the Name of Security, the organisation says hundreds of people have been arrested for demonstrating, while the government has drafted an anti-terror law that would effectively criminalise dissent as a “terrorist crime” and further strip away rights from those accused of such offences.
Amnesty said that since February, when sporadic demonstrations began – in defiance of a permanent national ban on protests – the government has carried out a crackdown that has included the arrest of hundreds of mostly Shi’a Muslims in the restive Eastern Province. Since March over 300 people who took part in peaceful protests in al-Qatif, al-Ahsa and Awwamiya have been detained, either at demonstrations or shortly afterwards. Most have been released, often after pledging not to protest again. Many face travel bans.
Elsewhere in the country, protests have been stifled by warnings from the Interior Ministry that the authorities would “take all necessary measures” against those who tried to “disrupt order”. Those individuals who have demonstrated have been swiftly arrested.
Full story here.