Amnesty slams Saudi Arabia for arresting innocents in name of terrorism

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Riyadh, July 22 (ANI): Human rights watch group Amnesty International (AI) has criticized Saudi Arabian Government for detaining thousands of innocent people in the name of countering terrorism, which is a clear violation of human rights.

"The scale of human rights violations is shocking. Thousands of people have had their lives turned upside down or destroyed by violations of their rights in the name of countering terrorism," The Telegraph quotes Amnesty's 65-page report, as saying.

Amnesty's detailed report said an unknown number of detained people have been held in secret without access to lawyers or visitors for months or years while those brought to trial often face grossly unfair procedures.

Many human rights defenders, advocates of political reform and members of religious minorities who had committed no crime recognised in international law had been caught in a "security-related repression", it said.

Saudi Arabia's interior ministry declined to comment on the report.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy without an elected parliament whose courts are run by clerics applying an austere version of mainstream Sunni Islam.

Local human right activists have long accused Saudi Arabia of using counter-terrorism efforts to detain opposition activists demanding democratic reforms or refusing to provide figures of detained and arrested people.

Saudi Arabia's main ally the United States and other Western countries rarely criticise the Gulf Arab state, which controls more than a fifth of global crude reserves and is a major holder of dollar assets as well as a key trading partner.

King Abdullah has tried some reforms since taking office in 2005 and removed two hardline clerics from top positions in a cabinet reshuffle in February aimed at curbing the influence of the religious establishment in education and judiciary.

But experts say his room for manoeuvre is limited given resistance of conservatives in the ruling family. (ANI)

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