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Protester killed in peaceful demonstration

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 14 February 2012 - ANHRI condemns the ongoing restrictions imposed by the Saudi government on freedom of expression, such as the blocking of the website of the Development News Agency (al-Tanmiya) due to its editorial policy and the material it posted about the Syrian crisis and the Qatari and Saudi stances on it, as well as the killing of protester Mounir Al-Midany.

Moreover, the Saudi authorities attacked peaceful demonstrations held in the city of Qatif in the past few days to press for democratic reforms and the release of political prisoners. This brutal violence led to the death of the young protester Mounir al-Midany, 21, in Qatif during the authorities' dispersal of a peaceful protest on 9 February 2012. More protesters were injured on the same day.

On a different note, ANHRI expresses its deep concern over the safety of the young journalist and poet Hamza Kashgari after having been deported
from Malaysia to the Saudi authorities, who detained him on charges of “insulting Islam” in tweets he had posted. ANHRI is also very disturbed over the news being disseminated online that anticipate prospects of trying Kashgari for “apostasy”, a charge existing in Saudi Arabia that may lead to a death sentence against him.

“Saudi Arabia persists in its atrocious violations against the Saudi citizens because of the international community and the Arab League's inaction over the deep enmity of the Saudi authorities towards human rights, especially freedom of expression. It is not possible to accept risking a young man's life because of 140 characters he posted on Twitter. The international and Arab communities have to intervene to stop this aggression” said ANHRI.

“The Saudi authorities are still determined to stay at the forefront of the countries hostile to Internet freedom. After prying into Kashgary's personal Twitter account, the Saudi authorities add a new website to a long list of websites blocked within Saudi Arabia,” added ANHRI.

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