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Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:35PM
Anti-regime protests in the Saudi town of Qatif in Eastern Province (file photo)

Anti-regime protests in the Saudi town of Qatif in Eastern Province (file photo)

Saudi protesters have gathered in front of the interior ministry in the capital city Riyadh to demand the release of political prisoners held captive in the Kingdom. The protest broke out in the capital city on Wednesday, where demonstrators shouted slogans against the Al Saud regime and called for an immediate release of prisoners. Over 500 Saudi women sent a letter to Muslim clerics worldwide on Sunday, calling on them to push for the release of political prisoners in the Persian Gulf estate. The women also pointed out in the letter that there are around 30,000 prisoners held in the Saudi jails. The letter came few days after two people were killed in clashes between inmates supporting and opposing the Saudi regime at the al-Hayer prison on the outskirts of the capital, Riyadh, on July 14. Since February 2011, protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in the Qatif region and the town of Awamiyah in Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination. The Saudi interior ministry issued a statement on March 5, 2011, prohibiting “all forms of demonstrations, marches or protests, and calls for them, because that contradicts the principles of the Islamic Sharia, the values and traditions of Saudi society, and results in disturbing public order and harming public and private interests”. The demonstrations have turned into protests against the Al Saud regime, especially since November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in Eastern Province. According to Human Rights Watch, the Saudi regime “routinely represses expression critical of the government.” PG/AS
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