Saudi new law defines atheists as 'terrorists'

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Saudi new law defines atheists as 'terrorists'
Riyadh, April 3: New law in Saudi Arabia has defined atheists as terrorists, said a report from Human Rights Watch.

The Arab country has introduced a series of new laws, reportedly to deal with terrorism. The Saudi King Abdullah has restricted all forms of political dissent and protests that could "harm public order".

On Wednesday, King Abdullah issued Royal Decree 44, which criminalizes "participating in hostilities outside the kingdom" with prison sentences of between three and 20 years, Human Rights Watch said.

Govt has made a list of groups which it describes as 'terrorist organizations'


Many Saudi citizens have been migrating to Syria to take part in the civil war. Some of them have returned to Saudi, equipped with training and ideas about overthrowing the monarchy. This has caused fear among the rulers.

The Saudi interior ministry, in last one month, identified a list of groups which it describes as 'terrorist organizations'. The list includes the Muslim Brotherhood too.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch, said: "Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but these recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism.

"These regulations dash any hope that King Abdullah intends to open a space for peaceful dissent or independent groups," Stork said.

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