Rights group says Saudi ministry detaines activists under 'terrorism'

A Saudi civil rights group has called for a probe into abuses which it says the Interior Ministry may have committed under the pretext of fighting "terrorism".

Rights group says Saudi ministry detaines activists under 'terrorism'

A Saudi civil rights group has called for an investigation into abuses which it says the Interior Ministry may have committed under the pretext of fighting what the government says "terrorism".

In an open letter to King Abdullah, the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Activists also said a lack of reforms and restrictions on freedom of expression had fuelled violence and extremism in the country.

"(We call for) establishing a fact-finding committee in order to protect political rights against potential abuses under the pretext of fighting terror, maintaining security, and defending Islamic faith," the group said in a document attached to their letter.

"The Interior Ministry (has) insisted on tarnishing the reputations of activists who ... (reject) oppression and injustice because they called for political reform," the letter said, referring to terror charges against the activists.

The group also accused the ministry of using torture against prisoners, saying that it was now on a larger scale.

The Interior Ministry had no immediate comment.

The government began strong counter-terrorism measures in 2003 against the groups allegedly linked to al Qaeda.

"Those who impede reform (have a role) in the production ... of violence, because the violent campaign did not begin (until) means of peaceful expression were stifled," the group said.

The Interior Ministry has arrested thousands of people. Critics say many people who have been accused of terror activities are believed merely to be opposition activists demanding reforms.

Activists have circulated petitions and called for fair trials for activists, who remain in jail without trial.

Reuters

Last Mod: 04 Şubat 2010, 08:36
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