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Protest held in Saudi Eastern Province over dissident Shia prisoner’s death

A screen grab from footage published on YouTube on January 25, 2017 showing an anti-Saudi regime protest in the kingdom’s Eastern Province.

People have gathered on the streets of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province in protest to the suspicious death of a Shia political prisoner.

The demonstration was held on Wednesday in Mohammad Radhi al-Hasawi’s home town of Awamiyah, where protesters also chanted anti-Riyadh slogans and demanded the release of all political prisoners in the country.

Earlier in the day, the European human rights envoy for Saudi affairs, Aadel al-Saeed, announced Hasawi’s death in the Dammam prison, where he had been held for four years without ever being tried in court.      

He was arrested around four years ago over charges of participating in activities against the Saudi regime.     

According to local doctors, clear signs of torture were evident on Hasawi’s remains.

The Shia-populated Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners as well as an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-producing region.

The kingdom has stepped up security measures in the region, which has also witnessed deadly shootings and bombings targeting security forces or Shia residents.

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