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Demonstrator killed, others injured as security forces crack down on peaceful protest

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 16 January 2012 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounced today the Saudi security forces for using excessive force against peaceful protesters and shooting many of them dead over the last few months. In a recent development, on Thursday 12 January, the security forces shot and killed one protester and injured several others while trying to scatter peaceful demonstrations in Qatif.

On 12 January, the Shiite-dominated Eastern Province witnessed sporadic marches calling for the release of political prisoners and persons illegally detained for their opinions, as well as democratic and political reforms to stop sectarian discrimination against the Shiite citizens of the Kingdom. As usual, the security forces faced the marches with excessive force, shot a young man dead (Essam Mohamed Abu Abdallah - 23 years old) and injured 3 others who were transferred to the hospital to receive the necessary treatment.

ANHRI points out that this is not the first incident of its kind, as the Saudi authorities have been accustomed to facing protests with violence, resulting in the death and injury of many protesters in the Northern Province in November 2011, in addition to the government's long history in sectarian discrimination against Shiite citizens which went as far as the Ministry of Interior putting restraints on their right to religious ceremonies.

"The Saudi government is not being held responsible for any of the human rights violations it commits against its citizens - that is the reason for its persistence in blocking all of their peaceful outlets for the free expression of their opinions. Human rights violations vary greatly and range from restraining freedoms; arbitrary detention; and imposing limits on Internet use, to repressing peaceful protests, and resorting to legal action to criminalizing creative works and those who disobey the ruling regime. All these violations have been taking place, without an appropriate reaction from the Arab world or international circles," ANHRI said.

ANHRI calls on the international society and all the powers defending freedom of expression in the world to expose the Saudis' repressive practices and to exert pressure on the Saudi government to stop turning a cold shoulder to all the international human rights instruments.

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