Saudi arrests dozens in protest over prisoners
Dubai, June 13, 2013
Saudi security forces arrested dozens of people this week during protests by families seeking freedom for relatives detained on security charges, activists said.
Families of security detainees have regularly staged small protests in Riyadh and some other cities over the past two years in defiance of a government ban on demonstrations.
They accuse the government of holding their relatives without trial or failing to release them after they were found innocent or had completed their sentence.
The authorities have repeatedly denied those charges and earlier this year set up a website where relatives of detainees can track the progress of their cases. They say those being held are suspected Islamist militants.
A spokesman for police in Qassim Province could not be reached for comment.
Saudi security spokesman Major General Mansour Turki has previously said relatives of detainees are being manipulated by al Qaeda sympathisers trying to stir up trouble for the authorities.
Saudi Arabia says it has detained a total of 11,000 people on security grounds during the last decade but that only around 2,700 remain in custody. – Reuters