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Amnesty International Criticizes Saudi Arabia for Crackdown on Dissent

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Amnesty International said Saudi Arabia has launched a systematic crackdown on civil and political rights activists since 2011, in a report released on Thursday.

In a 20-page report released on Thursday, Amnesty International severely criticized the kingdom’s “ruthless” crackdown on peaceful activists and protesters.

“Peaceful human rights activists have been routinely harassed, rounded up like criminals and often ill-treated in detention as the Saudi Arabian authorities go to extreme lengths to hound critics into silent submission,” the rights group said.

The report mostly addressed the prosecution of the 11 members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association [ACPRA].

“The Saudi Arabian authorities have targeted the founding members of ACPRA one by one, in a relentless effort to dismantle the organization and silence its members, as part of a broader crackdown on independent activism and freedom of expression since 2011,” the report said.

Additionally, Amnesty International referred to the peaceful protests in Saudi Arabia who struggle to safeguard their rights despite the regime crackdown.

“The government has responded to peaceful protests in favour of reform and greater political rights, and on behalf of victims of rights violations, by using force to crush them, particularly in the Eastern Province…” the report further stated.

Furthermore, the deputy head of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program, Said Boumedouha, said that, “The Saudi Arabian authorities have consolidated their iron grip on power through a systematic and ruthless campaign of persecution against peaceful activists in a bid to suppress any criticism of the state.”

International human rights organizations have repeatedly lashed out at Saudi Arabia for failing to address the human rights situation in the kingdom. They say that Saudi Arabia has persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Moreover, there have been numerous demonstrations in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province since 2011, with the protesters calling for political reform and an end to widespread discrimination.

Source: al-Ahednews

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