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Saudi activist kidnapped by security forces and sentenced to six years in jail

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounces the verdict issued by the Criminal Court in Riyadh on 7 April 2014 sentencing Hussein Abu Zeid to six years in jail and banning him from traveling for the same period of time because of his participation in protests that took place in 2012 in the cities of Qatif and Al-Ahsa in the Eastern Province.

Saudi Arabia's emergency forces kidnapped Abu Zeid while he was returning from the “We Are All Tigers” march, which started on 27 July 2012 on Al-Thawra Street. Emergency forces besieged the district and abducted him.

Abu Zeid was not the only one kidnapped by security forces, he is among 14 young men that were kidnapped that night. Most of them were shot at by the security officers.

Following the protests that took place in the Eastern Province in 2012, security forces issued a list of people wanted for security purposes. The list was known in the media as the list of 23 as there were 23 Saudi activists on that list whom the authorities had charged with "breaching obedience to the king" and "belonging to an unlawful terrorist organisation".

"The abduction of Saudi activists and citizens by security forces because of expressing their opinions is beyond the violations stage and appears to be a systematic authoritarian intimidation with the purpose of eliminating those voices demanding a dignified life," said ANHRI.

The network calls on international organisations concerned with freedom and democracy to press their governments to call on Saudi Arabia to suspend such flagrant violations committed against activists in the country. It also urges international organisations to call on their governments to pressure Saudi Arabia to drop the list of 23 wanted activists.