Saudi authorities arrested a university professor a day after he called for the release of jailed relatives and other prisoners, a Saudi human rights group said on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and a key U.S. ally, is an absolute monarchy that does not tolerate any form of public dissent.
“Dr. Mubbarak (bin Zuair) was supposed to break the good news to the demonstrators in front of the Ministry of Information who were protesting the extended illegal detention of their loved ones, that some of the detainees would be released,” the Human Rights First Society (HRFS) said in a statement.
“At 10.30 am on March 20, on his way to the Ministry of Information where the standoff was taking place, Dr Mubbarak was stopped and arrested by the secret police,” it added.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki could not confirm the arrest of bin Zuair, a professor at Alimmam Mohammad Bin Saud University in Riyadh.
On March 19 bin Zuair met with the assistant secretary for security affairs at the ministry to ask for the release of his relatives and other prisoners.
His father, Professor Said bin Zuair, an Islamist and outspoken critic of the Saudi royal family, has been imprisoned without trial for around five years, the group’s president Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb told Reuters.