Saudi rights group urges support for detained hunger striker

Published Monday, March 12, 2012

A Saudi human rights group called on Monday for a symbolic two-day fast later this week in solidarity with an activist on hunger strike since February 22 to protest against his "arbitrary detention."

The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association said its member, Mohamed al-Bajadi, had been held since March last year.

The rights group called on all Saudis, and specifically human rights activists, to "join a symbolic hunger strike next Thursday and Friday in solidarity with Bajadi and other political prisoners."

According to the statement, "24 people" have so far pledged to join the fast.

The statement said Bajadi was arrested after publicly revealing information about the alleged "death by torture of Yemeni citizen Sultan Abdo al-Duais," while in Saudi custody.

According to a fellow activist, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, Bajadi has been charged with "inciting people to protest, possession of banned books, and damaging the reputation of the state."

Saudi Arabia has maintained an iron grip on internal dissent, fearing similar popular uprisings as seen in other Arab revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.

But it still faces pockets of unrest, including regular protests in its Eastern Province, as well as university protests last week in Abha.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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