Cleric detained for criticism of illegal Detention of Political Prisoners By Saudi Monarchy
Activists say Sheikh Youssef bin Abdallah al-Ahmed was detained on Friday in the city of Dammam while he was visiting his father, Reuters reported.
They said al-Ahmed wanted the release of political prisoners in response to appeals for help by their families.
He has reportedly posted a YouTube video on the Internet in which he blames King Abdullah, Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz and his deputy for instituting lengthy jail terms without trials.
Thousands of people are behind bars in Saudi Arabia merely for their political views.
They inmates have been held for long periods without charges and with no access to lawyers, contradicting a Saudi law that limits detention without trial to six months.
Rights organizations have long censured Riyadh for persistently violating basic rights of prison inmates.
Saudi Arabia is faced with a wave of protests calling for reforms in the conservative kingdom.
Earlier in July, Princess Basma bint Saud cautioned rulers of the oil-rich Persian Gulf monarchy that no Arab country would be immune from the sweeping wave of popular uprisings in the region.
She further added that the regime’s so-called morality police have deviated from its original course of preventing corruption, leading the society to a state in which people, particularly women, have to live in fear.
Despite a ban on any public gatherings, Saudi Arabia has witnessed several demonstrations in recent months.
Meanwhile, Saudi women have joined the pro-reform movement by breaking the long ban on female driving in the country, where women are also deprived of political posts and a choice in marriage, divorce and child custody. Saudi women can neither travel without the consent of a male guardian.