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Saudi political dissident succumbs to gunfire wounds sustained in regime raid on Qatif

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Late Saudi political dissident Nazir Ibrahim al-Ghazawi (file photo)

A young political dissident in Saudi Arabia, who was critically wounded by regime force during a raid on the kingdom’s oil-rich and Shia-populated Eastern Province, has succumbed to his injuries as a crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against pro-democracy campaigners, Muslim preachers and intellectuals continues unabated in the conservative country.

London-based and Arabic-language Nabaa television news network reported that Nazir Ibrahim al-Ghazawi, a resident of al-Qudaih village in the Qatif region, passed away on Monday.

Ghazawi had been shot and wounded after being ambushed by Saudi regime forces in Tarout Island on October 17. He had been struck with two bullets in the process.

Saudi Arabia has recently stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution, and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners.

Saudi regime forces have also intensified crackdown in Eastern Province.

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

The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime. Regime forces have increased security measures across the province.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

In January 2016, Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was an outspoken critic of the policies of the Riyadh regime. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif in 2012.

The Saudi regime is currently grappling with an international crisis over the murder of prominent dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a distinguished commentator on Saudi affairs who wrote for The Washington Post’s Global Opinions section, had lived in self-imposed exile in the US since September 2017, when he left Saudi Arabia over fears of the Riyadh regime’s crackdown on critical voices.

Hatice Cengiz, the journalist's fiancée, has accused Saudi officials of a massive cover-up.

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