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Middle East
Saudi activist on hunger strike 'in danger'
A human rights group says Mohammad al Bajadi,a Saudi Arabian activist, stopped drinking water, and is fainting.
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2012 03:16

A Saudi human rights group voiced alarm about the health of one of its jailed members, who has been on hunger strike for almost a month and has recently stopped drinking water also.

"The interior ministry... carries full responsibility over the deteriorating health condition of prominent rights activist and member of the association Mohammed bin Saleh al-Bajadi," the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) said.

Bajadi "stopped drinking water early Saturday... fainting four times in a row, which proves that his life is in danger and his death inevitable," said the statement.

But interior ministry spokesman Mansur al-Turki denied to AFP that Bajadi is on hunger strike.

"Bajadi is taking his meals regularly and is in good health," he said.

The rights group called for Bajadi's "immediate release," saying he must face a "fair public trial."

According to the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), he is protesting his ill-treatment and arbitrary detention, after which he was kept in solitary confinement for four months.

"Mohammad al-Bajadi shouldn't be imprisoned for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly," said Nabeel Rajab, director of GCHR, and added, "I call on the Saudi king to immediately release him and do everything in his power to protect and support the legitimate work of human rights defenders and also to meet all legal obligations under international law."

Last month, ACPRA said Bajadi, 34, was arrested after publicly revealing information about the alleged "death by torture of Yemeni citizen Sultan Abdo al-Duais" while in Saudi custody.

He was arrested at his home in Buraidah, al-Qassim province by security forces on 21 March 2011 and remains in incommunicado detention since, said the GCHR.

A fellow activist, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, said Bajadi has been charged with "inciting people to protest, possession of banned books and damaging the reputation of the state."

Travel ban

The GCHR reported that the ministry of interior has also imposed a ten-year travel ban on Sheikh Mukhlif al-Shammari, another human rights activist.

Shammari, a writer and prominent rights advocate, was arrested in June 2010 and charged with "disturbing others" through his articles. This charge was eventually dismissed in the Court of First Instance.

He was stopped on April 8th while trying to cross by land into Bahrain.

"They have taken this action because of my peaceful activities in defense of human rights," Shammari said. "This ban is a violation of all treaties signed by Saudi Arabia to protect human rights."

Source:
Agencies and Al Jazeera
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