The U.S. group Human Rights Watch said Saudi authorities arrested
Fahdil Al Manasif in the Eastern Province on May 1. HRW said Al Manasif was
detained in the Shi'ite-populated city of Awamiya, the scene of anti-regime
protests in March.
"The latest arrests of peaceful dissidents brings the climate for reform
in Saudi Arabia to freezing point," Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East
researcher at Human Rights Watch, said.
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Al Manasif was deemed a leading human rights activist in Saudi Arabia.
Over the last year, he has released photographs and testimony of Shi'ite
demonstrations in the oil-rich Eastern Province.
HRW said more than 160 dissidents were arrested in Saudi Arabia from
February through April. The group said Riyad has not eased restrictions
on peaceful dissent.
"The Saudi ruling family has shown no signs that it might ease its iron
grip on the right to express political opinions," Wilcke said.