Sat Sep 24, 2011
Saudi activists in the eastern city of Qatif have taken to the streets to rally against police harassing female protesters and in support for the ongoing Bahraini revolution, Press TV reported.
Scores of women had earlier on Saturday staged sit-in protests outside the local government office in the eastern province of Dammam, calling for the release of their relatives held in prison for years without any charge.
Protesters in Qatif had also rallied on Friday against the Al Saud regime’s brutal military intervention in Bahrain with the aim of crushing the popular uprising in the small Persian Gulf kingdom.
Both demonstrations took place despite the government’s strict ban on anti-regime rallies in the country.
Moreover, activists in Saudi Arabia say the country has jailed more than 30,000 political prisoners, most of them prisoners of conscious. Many were arrested merely for appearing suspicious and the majority of them are being held without trials or legitimate charges.
The families of political prisoners have repeatedly pleaded with the ruling monarch to at least give their loved ones a fair trial. However, the king has for years ignored their calls.
Over the past months, Saudi activists in the Eastern Province have staged several anti-government protests, demanding reforms and immediate release of political prisoners.
Their campaign for human rights reform, freedom of expression and political reforms ended with an unexpected outcome: the anti-terror law, which gives the ministry of interior superior powers to detain suspects incommunicado for up to 120 days amendable to indefinite extension.
The law also defines terror crimes as any action endangering national unity, an ambiguous definition which can even be extended to peaceful demonstrations.
Human Rights Watch says more than 160 dissidents have been arrested since February as part of the Saudi government’s crackdown on anti-government protesters.
According to the Saudi-based Human Rights First Society (HRFS), the detainees have been subjected to torture both physically and mentally.