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Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:22AM
Saudis staged protests in Saudi Arabia's oil-producing Eastern Province. (File photo)

Saudis staged protests in Saudi Arabia's oil-producing Eastern Province. (File photo)

Saudi activists say there are more than 40,000 political prisoners, mostly prisoners of conscience, in jails across the kingdom.
Saudi regime forces have killed a teenage boy during a raid on the houses of anti-regime activists in the restive Eastern Province. The incident took place in al-Tubi village of Qatif region on Friday when the Saudi troops shot the 19-year-old boy in the head and shoulder. Ali Hassan al-Mahroos is the 17th victim of the Saudi regime’s crackdown on protesters in Qatif since 2011. Another person was injured in the attack. Saudi regime forces also arrested an unspecified number of activists. On the same day, human rights activists told Press TV that more than 120 prisoners in Saudi Arabia have gone on hunger strike to express their anger at inhumane prison conditions. The hunger strikers are also objecting to their detention without charge or trial, the activists said. More than 70 inmates stopped eating last week in a bid to draw international attention to their plight. Recently, around 50 more have joined the campaign. The strike will continue for at least five weeks, according to the human rights activists. Saudi activists say there are more than 40,000 political prisoners, mostly prisoners of conscience, in jails across the kingdom. Families and relatives of political prisoners have held several public gatherings in major cities, including Riyadh, Mecca, Medina and Buraidah. However, their protests have failed to bear any results. In Saudi Arabia, protests and political gatherings of any kind are prohibited. 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. However, the demonstrations turned into protests against the repressive Al Saud regime, especially after November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the province. According to Human Rights Watch, the Saudi regime “routinely represses expression critical of the government.” DB/HN
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