Protesters in Saudi Arabia Attend Human Rights Activist Funeral
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - People in Saudi Arabia held a funeral for a pro-democracy activist who was killed by Saudi forces.
Thousands of people attended the mourning ceremony organized for anti-government protester Bassem Ali al-Qadehi who died of his injuries in a hospital on Tuesday, days after he was shot by Saudi forces in the country’s restive Qatif region.
During the funeral procession, the mourners denounced Saudi Arabia for its violent crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations in the country.
al-Qadehi was among a group of protesters who were attacked on Friday at a peaceful demonstration in support of senior Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who himself was attacked and arrested in the Qatif region in July 2012.
A Saudi court has recently sentenced Sheikh Nimr to death. However, the enforcement of the ruling has been postponed.
There have been numerous demonstrations in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province since 2011, with the protestors calling for political reform and an end to widespread discrimination. Several people have been killed and many others have been injured or arrested during the demonstrations.
The Persian Gulf monarchy has come under fire from international human rights organizations, which have criticized it for failing to address the rights situation in the kingdom. Critics say the country shows zero-tolerance toward dissent.
In January, Joe Stork, the deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa division for Human Right Watch, slammed Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on activists in the kingdom, Press TV reported.
“Saudi Arabia should free imprisoned activists and take other concrete, visible steps to show the government is willing to improve its abysmal rights record,” Stork said.
Stork also questioned the election of Saudi Arabia as a member of the Human Rights Council in November last year, saying that Riyadh has a record of repression and its membership is not fit.