Amnesty slams arrest of Saudi protesters demanding release of Islamist prisoners

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 03, 2013 06:10 hrs

A London-based human rights watchdog has slammed the arrest of 176 people, including 15 women, for holding an illegal protest to demand the release of Islamist prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

Philip Luther, Amnesty's director for the Middle East and North Africa, called it an outrageous 'cat and mouse game' that authorities in Saudi Arabia are playing.

Luther said that instead of persecuting peaceful protesters, the Saudi authorities listen to their demands and release all those held solely for exercising their human rights.

Friday's protesters were seeking the release of "over 50 women and children" detained after a similar demonstration two days earlier.

According to the watchdog, the women and children "were demanding the release of their relatives, incarcerated without charge or trial or beyond the end of their sentences".

Some of the women also called for the sacking of the interior minister of the country where "criticism of the state is not tolerated", Amnesty added. (ANI)

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