Saudi Authorities Arrest Shia Human Rights Activist

Kamel_AlahmedSRW( Shia Rights Watch) – SRW condemns the detention of Kamel Abbas al-Ahmed. It is time that Saudi authorities recognize the Shia citizens and give them the minimum rights of expressing themself, experiencing freedom and the freesom of involvement in peaceful conversation.

Kamel Abbas al-Ahmed is an engineer and the brother of the Saudi dissident Ali Abbas al-Ahmed, head of the Gulf Institute in Washington. The Saudi security services escorted Kamel al-Ahmed to an unknown destination without giving any reasons for his detention and without a warrant.

This is not the first time that al-Ahmed has been detained. He was harassed by the security services and detained for nearly nine years in the Kingdom’s prisons without clear reasons. His passport was also seized almost 18 months ago to deny him freedom of travelling outside the country.

In 2009, the Shiite activist Kamel al-Ahmed rejected the remarks of Adel al-Kelbani, the Imam of Grand Mosque of Mecca, judging Shiites as disbelievers. He was among a group of activists and writers who issued a statement holding the political authority responsible for the ongoing sectarian discrimination against Shiites and followers of other Islamic sects that are different from the Salafi ideology of the state, and the fatwas that charge them with infidelity. The activists attributed this policy to the government’s persistence in denying Shiites participation in the management of the state and excluding them from the process of decision making and the general policy of the country.

Although the authorities have failed to announce the reasons of Kamel al-Ahmed’s detention, it is likely to be due to his activities, as well as his brother’s activities as a Saudi dissident abroad. It is also an attempt to pressure and intimidate him to stop criticizing the Saudi authorities.

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