Distinguished Saudi Cleric from Shia-Populated Province Arrested by Regime Forces

Distinguished Saudi Cleric from Shia-Populated Province Arrested by Regime Forces

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A renowned Shia scholar has apparently once again been detained by Saudi security forces in the oil-rich Eastern Province of the kingdom as the Riyadh regime continues its harsh crackdown on followers of the faith.

According to reliable local sources cited by the Arabic-language news outlet Mirat al-Jazeera, the Saudi authorities detained Sheikh Muhammad al-Abbad without a warrant in the city of al-'Umran in the al-Ahsa region and transported him to an undisclosed location.

On September 16, 2019, Sheikh Abbad was taken into custody. He was originally given a two and a half year prison term as well as a two year travel ban by the Supreme Court. Before being freed in March of last year, he spent nearly three years in prison.

The Shia cleric is known for his strong and courageous stances in defense of citizens' rights, and speaking fearlessly against abuses and misappropriation of organizational power by state authorities.

This comes as activities have warned that the fate of an imprisoned prominent Shia scholar from Eastern Province remains unknown.

They said they had "no information" about the whereabouts of Hashim Muhammad al-Shakhs.

Back in December 2020, members of the General Intelligence Presidency cordoned off the area around the house of Shakhs in the city of al-Ahsa, before breaking in and arresting the cleric.

The sources added that the Saudi regime forces ransacked the house, terrorizing the entire family.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution, and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners, in particular in the Eastern Province.

The province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the region.

The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown, with regime forces increasing security measures across the province.

Ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested dozens of activists, bloggers, intellectuals, and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

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