Tuesday Aug 14, 201204:41 PM GMT
Saudi officials indict Shia cleric after year in jail
Prominent Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amer (2nd R)
Prominent Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amer (2nd R)
Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:40PM
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Saudi Arabian officials have issued an indictment against prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amer, who has been held in jail for one year without trial.

On Sunday, the authorities issued a list of charges against Sheihk Amer, accusing him of making false statements against the Saudi king, calling for political reform and encouraging people to demand a transformation of the ruling system.

The authorities also accused the cleric of insulting Saudi religious scholars.

The charge refers to Amer’s response to a statement issued by a number of radical Salafi clerics who described Shia Muslims as infidels and called for a war on them.

Moreover, Sheikh Amer has been also charged with collecting donations, and raising the calls for prayers (Azan) in the Shia way from the mosques at which he used to be the imam.

The cleric was presented to Central Criminal Court in Riyadh 9 August, one year after security forces arrested him while the cleric was returning home after leading congretional prayers in a mosque in Hafouf of al-Ahsa governorate, Eastern province.

Sheikh Amer was detained and is being prosecuted over his calls for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in Saudi Arabia and an end to widespread discrimination in the country.

Saudi Arabia, viewed as the Middle East’s powerhouse, is an absolute monarchy with zero tolerance for public dissent.

On Monday, Sweden's Defense Minister Karin Enstrom criticized the violation of human rights in Saudi Arabia, describing the kingdom as "an authoritarian regime and an absolute monarchy, where serious human rights crimes are committed."

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