Amnesty raps Saudi Arabia for crackdown on dissent

Amnesty raps Saudi Arabia for crackdown on dissent

Thu Oct 9, 2014 11:50PM GMT

Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia has launched a systematic crackdown on civil and political rights activists since 2011.

In a 20-page report released on Thursday, Amnesty International severely criticized the kingdom’s “ruthless” crackdown on peaceful activists and protesters.

The report mostly addressed the prosecution of the 11 members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA).

“The Saudi Arabian authorities have targeted the founding members of ACPRA one by one, in a relentless effort to dismantle the organization and silence its members, as part of a broader crackdown on independent activism and freedom of expression since 2011,” read the report.

Amnesty International also referred to the peaceful protests of the Shia community in Saudi Arabia who struggle to safeguard their rights despite the regime crackdown.

“The government has responded to peaceful protests in favour of reform and greater political rights, and on behalf of victims of rights violations, by using force to crush them, particularly in the Eastern Province where most of the country’s Shia Muslim minority live,” stated the report.

Meanwhile, Said Boumedouha, the deputy head of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program, said, “The Saudi Arabian authorities have consolidated their iron grip on power through a systematic and ruthless campaign of persecution against peaceful activists in a bid to suppress any criticism of the state.”

International human rights organizations have repeatedly lashed out at Saudi Arabia for failing to address the human rights situation in the kingdom. They say Saudi Arabia has persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly.

There have been numerous demonstrations in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province since 2011, with the protesters calling for political reform and an end to widespread discrimination.

Activists say there are over 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

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