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News number: 9107118438

15:17 | 2012-11-11

World

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Int'l Rights Group Calls on Riyadh to Respect Right of Peaceful Assembly

TEHRAN (FNA)- Amnesty International raised concerns about the condition of human rights in Saudi Arabia, and called on Riyadh to avoid using excessive force against protesters and respect people's rights of peaceful assembly.



Amnesty International also called on Saudi authorities to investigate the killings of protesters in the Kingdom.

"Despite promising to investigate deaths of people at the hands of the security forces, there has been no indication this ever happened," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's director for the Middle-East and North Africa.

"The authorities must end their silence and announce both the details and the outcome of any investigations and state whether any official suspected of unlawful killing has been brought to justice.

"They must also ensure that those people marching today are allowed to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and are not met with excessive force."

Saudi Arabia is witnessing daily popular protests to mark the deaths of at least 14 people in connection with protests in the country since last year.

Reports vary as to how those killed in connection with the protests lost their lives. Eyewitnesses have said that some of those who died were either not taking part in demonstrations or, if they were, posed little or no risk to the security forces.

All demonstrations are banned in Saudi Arabia, but they have been taking place in Saudi Arabia's predominantly Shiite Muslim Eastern Province since February 2011 to protest the arrest, imprisonment and harassment of members of the Shiite community for holding collective prayer meetings, celebrating Shiite religious festivals and for breaching restrictions on building Shiite mosques and religious schools.

The demonstrations in the Eastern Province have been inspired in part by protests that swept the Middle-East and North Africa region in 2011.

The Saudi authorities have responded with repressive measures against those suspected of taking part in or supporting protests or of expressing views critical of the state.

Protesters have been held without charge and incommunicado for days or weeks at a time, and in some cases reportedly subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in detention.