Saudi security forces have reportedly arrested a distinguished Shia scholar in the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province as the Riyadh regime keeps its clampdown against members of the Shia community in the kingdom.
The London-based and Arabic-language Nabaa television news network, citing local sources, reported that members of the General Intelligence Presidency cordoned off the area around the house of Hashim Muhammad al-Shakhs in the city of al-Ahsa on Monday, before breaking in and arresting the cleric.
The sources added that the Saudi regime forces ransacked the house, terrorizing the entire family.
They then took away the Shia scholar to an unknown location at gunpoint.
Saudi Arabia razes Shia mosque to ground in Qatif region
Also on Monday, Saudi forces leveled to the ground a Shia Muslim mosque south of al-Awamiyah town in Qatif region, located more than 420 kilometers (260 miles) east of the capital, Riyadh.
Locals said forces demolished Imam al-Hussein (PBUH) Mosque in al-Zarah neighborhood without any prior notice, after forming a cordon around the site in the morning, Lebanon's Arabic-language al-Ahed news website reported.
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. Security forces have increased security measures across the province.
Ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has intensified its crackdown on dissent despite international condemnations.
Muslim scholars have been executed, women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured, and freedom of expression, association and belief continue to be denied.