Saudi regime holds activist for hosting political meet

Saudi regime holds activist for hosting political meet
Thu Oct 3, 2013 23:06:48

Saudi officials have reportedly arrested prominent human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair for allegedly organizing an "unauthorized" gathering event in Jeddah.

Al-Khair was taken into detention on Wednesday after leading assemblies to discuss the nation’s political issues, the Institute for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia is cited as stating in Thursday press reports.

The Saudi activist and lawyer is already facing allegations by the US-backed kingdom related to insulting the regime’s judiciary and other ruling institutions.

The Saudi rulers have expanded a brutal security crackdown on activists since the so-called Arab Spring began in 2011.

Al-Khair was taken into custody by Saudi security forces for planning and hosting "reformists" in an "unauthorized diwaniya," or gathering place, his wife Samar Badawi is quoted as saying in press reports.

She further said her husband would be questioned on Thursday by the Saudi public prosecutor in Jeddah, who will then rule on whether to free him on bail or keep him under detention.

According to the Britain-based Institute for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, Al-Khair began to organize meetings to discuss politics, religion and human rights at his residence after the authorities closed down a separate meeting point in a cafe in Jeddah.

The gatherings had come under attack by Saudi conservatives on social media and TV networks who called for it to be shut down, it said.

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