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Hunger striker exposes Western-backed Saudi regime

Ahmed El Bassiouny

April 18, 2012

Mohammad Al-Bajadi, a founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), has been on hunger strike since March 11 protesting against arbitrary arrests and human rights abuses in Saudi prisons. Al-Bajadi, sentenced to five years in prison after an unfair trial, stopped drinking water on April 7, exposing the brutality of the Saudi regime that is backed by Western allies.

ACPRA stated that Al-Bajadi had fainted many times, indicating that his health is deteriorating. On the other hand, Mansour Al-Turki, the Ministry of Interior Affairs’ spokesman denied Al-Bajadi’s deteriorating health and stated that he is “taking his meals regularly and is in a good health.”

In 2007 Al-Bajadi was detained in solidary confinement for four months after calling international attention to political prisoners. On March 21, 2011, in the middle of the Arab Spring, he was arrested by domestic intelligence agents in Qassim province for being involved in organizing a small group demonstration in the capital city, Riyadh. Al-Bajadi has been in detention since then.

According to ACPRA, Al-Bajadi was arrested for publicly revealing the truth about the alleged death of the Yemeni citizen Sultan Abdo Al-Duais by torture in Saudi prison.

Judges prohibited Al-Bajadi’s lawyers from attending his trial at court. The lawyers were not recognized by the court and were not allowed to talk to him.

According to the Saudi authorities, Al-Bajadi was found guilty for the possession of banned books, contesting the independence of the judiciary, harming the image of the state and calling on political detainees to protest. The sentence was announced after a secret trial, ignoring all the demands for a fair public trial.

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