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Critical poet detained; website blocked

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 15 March 2012 - ANHRI denounces the detention of Habib Ali al-Maatiq, poet and photographer, since 22 February without charges, reflecting the Saudi authorities' defiance of law and lack of respect for the values and principals of human rights. In addition, al-Fajr Cultural Network's website ( ) has been blocked, and no legal reason has been given by authorities.

The detention of al-Maatiq is a continuation of a campaign of detention by Saudi police in the Eastern Province. Thus far, no reasons for his detention have been made public. This incident also coincides with the blocking of al-Fajr Cultural Network website.

Al-Maatiq has received numerous poetry and photography awards within and outside Saudi Arabia. He was detained nine years ago for three years because of his reformist political opinions. He is detained once again, and Saudi mass media, which is controlled by the Saudi government, remains silent. Since his detention, no news has been reported about him except on some independent or international websites.

“It is clear that repression and detention in Saudi Arabia have become systematic approaches to dealing with anyone suspected of opposing the despotic performance of the Saudi government, which derives its longevity from the flagrant collusion of the international community. The latter has become accustomed to turning a blind eye to the blatant violations of the Saudi government against its critics, especially opinion makers and the Shiite minority. The list of prisoners of conscience is getting longer every day. These prisoners only find support from a few independent media outlets and many Saudi and Arab pro-democracy activists. This highlights the international community's silence, that is motivated by oil and the prioritization of interests at the expense of the rights and freedoms of the Saudi citizens,” said ANHRI.

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