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Security forces kill two protesters in crackdown on demonstration

UPDATE: Authorities continue crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, one activist shot (ANHRI, 29 July 2012)

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 9 July 2012 - ANHRI condemns the excessive force used by the Saudi security forces in a crackdown against peaceful demonstrations in Al-Qatif on 8 July 2012. The demonstrators were protesting the arrest of Nemr Baqer Nemr, a Sheikh and activist.

The village of Awamiah, which is located in the primarily Shiite territory of Al-Qatif, was the site of an anti-regime protest following the arrest of the Shiite Sheikh and activist Nemr Baqer Nemr. Activists distributed pictures of his arrest and the torture he faced, resulting in severe injuries. That pictures were taken in Nemr's car, where he appears covered by a blood-stained piece of white cloth. Mohamed Nemr, his brother, said that the police arrested the activist while he was coming back by car from a farm to his home in Al-Qatif. He was then transferred to the hospital but remains under arrest on charges of having created social discord.

The Saudi security forces met this demonstration with extreme violence. They used bullets to disperse the protesters, resulting in the death of two protesters and injuring tens of others.

Al-Qatif is the site of ongoing demands for social and political reforms, including demands to end the continued hostility against Shiites in the kingdom. Their demands include their rights to freedom of religion, as well as calls for releasing political detainees. The protesters also criticised the authorities' support for the Bahraini regime in its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.

ANHRI said "the practices of the Saudi regime against the people of Al-Qatif are clear violations of human rights and universal values and run counter to the Islamic religion, which the Saudi regime claims to practice."

ANHRI emphasises its rejection of the politics of the Saudi regime in its suppression of rights, its use of excessive force in dealing with peaceful demonstrators and its arbitrary arrest of human rights activists, due to their expression of their opinions and their calls for reforms. Such practices persist due to the lack of action or response from the international community when the regime violates all international
treaties and covenants as well as the recognised norms of the human rights. Such silence has reached levels of collusion, due to economic ties with the Saudi regime.

ANHRI calls on the international community and all parties concerned with human rights to expose the repressive practices of the Saudi regime and to pressure it to end these barbaric policies.

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