Saudi frees dissident Shi’ite blogger

Saudi Blogger Nazir Al Majid

Nazir Al Majid, known for tackling issues of religion on his blogs, was arrested in March last year

Saudi Arabia has released a prominent Shi’ite blogger after more than a year in detention without charges, it has been reported.

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Nazir Al Majid, known for tackling issues of religion and freedom on his blogs, was arrested in March last year after joining in anti-government demonstrations in the eastern province of Qatif.

“Al-Majid was released on Thursday after arbitrary detention without charges or a trial,” a family source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province been the site of several protests in recent months by Shi’ites demanding political reforms from the kingdom’s Sunni rulers for months. Shi’ite Muslims have complained of official neglect and discrimination in the region, which the government has denied.

Early this month, prominent Shi’ite cleric Nimr Al Nimr was arrested after being shot by police in an exchange of fire, prompting demonstrations.

Several “troublemakers” were also arrested on Friday during a peaceful demonstration. “The troublemakers blocked the roads and the police received many calls of complaint. There was no live firing and there weren’t any injuries. Some were arrested and they will be investigated,” said Mansour Al Turki, the Interior Ministry spokesman.

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