On July 8, Sheikh Nemr was attacked, injured and arrested by Saudi security forces while driving from a farm to his house in the flashpoint city of Qatif, in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province.
Nemr’s relatives were allowed to visit him for the first time a week after his detention, at the military hospital in Dhahran in the Eastern Province. They said the very brief visit was closely monitored by security forces who told them not say anything more than exchanging general statements.
They said the cleric bore signs of severe torture on his body, his face was bruised in several places and some of his teeth were broken. The relatives had been warned by security forces to keep silent about what they had witnessed.
In 2011, Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province turned into a scene of regular anti-regime demonstrations demanding reforms, an end to widespread discrimination and the release of political prisoners from jail.
The demonstrations soon turned into protests against the Al Saud regime, especially after Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in November.
The protests have been met with an iron fist in the brutal crackdown by the security forces.
Anti-regime protests have intensified ever since Nemr’s detention, with demonstrations spreading to the capital, Riyadh, and the holy city of Medina over the past few weeks.