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Saudi Arabia: Arrest and detention of human rights defender Mr Mohammed Saleh El Bejadi
Human rights defender Mr Mohammed Saleh El Bejadi remains in incommunicado detention in Saudi Arabia following his arrest on 21 March 2011. Mohammed Saleh El-Bejadi is a co-founder of the Saudi Civil & Political Rights Association (ACPRA), established in October 2009. He has been the subject of three previous Front Line Urgent Appeals, the most recent dated 11 May 2010.
It is reported that on 21 March 2011, Mohammed Saleh El Bejadi was arrested at his home in Buraidah, al-Qassim province, by uniformed security force agents and individuals in civilian clothes believed to have been members of the General Intelligence. A number of personal items including a laptop computer, books and documents were also reportedly confiscated from his home at the time. He was subsequently taken to his office, where further items were confiscated including another computer, books and documents. The security force agents also reportedly filmed the inside of Mohammed Saleh El Bejadi's office.
On 20 March 2011, Mohammed Saleh El Bejadi had attended a protest outside the Ministry of the Interior in Riyadh calling for the release of prisoners who have been detained for over a year without charge or trial. A number of those present at the protest were arrested; while the women were reportedly released after fingerprinting statements confirming their presence at the protest, it is believed that the men who were arrested remain in detention. The previous day, it is reported that Mohammed Saleh El Bejadi had sent messages concerning the rally via the website twitter.
Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Mohammed Saleh El Bejadi, and believes that his arrest and continued incommunicado detention are related to his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights. These acts, if confirmed, would reflect an ongoing crackdown against freedom of assembly and expression in Saudi Arabia.