Saudi Arabia holds activist, protesters -colleagues


Abdullah al-Hamed, who has been jailed in the past after calling for political reforms, was seized from his home in Buraida north of Riyadh on Thursday morning, they said.

Rima al-Juraish was also held, with four other women who took part in a sit-in she organised on Monday in Buraida demanding the release of men in detention for suspected links to militants, they added.

Al Qaeda-linked Islamists launched a campaign to bring down the monarchy in 2003, targeting government installations, foreigners and the oil industry.

Saudi Arabia says it has 3,000 men in detention for suspicion of involvement in militant activities.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said he was not aware of Thursday’s detentions.

Hamed was one of three reformers jailed in 2005 for organising a petition calling for Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally and the world’s largest oil exporter, to be transformed from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional democracy.

King Abdullah pardoned the men later that year after he ascended the throne.

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