In a report entitled "Saudi Arabia's Political Prisoners: Towards a Third Decade of Silence," the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) describes political imprisonment in Saudi Arabia as "an epidemic [which] has not spared any sector of Saudi society." According to the IHRC, there are an estimated 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia out of approximately 18 million Saudi nationals. The report calls attention to the plight of these political prisoners over the last three decades with hopes that the Saudi government and international community will finally take notice.
Protests in Saudi Arabia have been ongoing for several months calling for political reform and the release of political prisoners. On Monday, these protests turned violent for the first time when Saudi security forces opened fired at demonstrators. Al-Alam reported that 24 people were injured in the clashes in Saudi's oil-rich Eastern Province. The clashes took place in Qatif and al-Awamiyah, home to a largely Shia population. In an official statement, the Interior Ministry blamed a "foreign country" for the unrest, undoubtedly a veiled reference to Iran, adding that "those involved in sabotage will be dealt with an iron hand."
In an al-Jazeera opinion piece entitled "Saudi political prisoners long for justice," Hala al-Dosari detailed the case of one mother who appealed to the head of the Interior Ministry for the release of her son, Fahad al-Saeed, arrested nine years ago without trial or charges. The "articulate language and heart-breaking details " of the plea garnered a shocking, first-time response from the government, but one that denied the arrest and detainment of al-Saeed.
The Independent newspaper reported that protests in the oil-rich kingdom are gaining momentum and are expected spread to more cities. A Facebook page entitled "Revolution of the Eastern Region" is among several opposition websites gaining popularity. What will the spread of protests mean for a country that has long punished political dissidents?
(Al Jazeera English: 1532 PT, May 16, 2011) There is a serious and growing rift in Iran between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader. Ahmadinejad has reportedly asked the Khamenei if he can resign. Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari reports from Tehran.
(Al Jazeera English: 1534 PT, May 15, 2011) Several people have been killed and scores of others wounded in the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, Ras Maroun in Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, as Palestinians mark the "Nakba," or day of "catastrophe."
The "Nakba" is how Palestinians refer to the 1948 founding of the state of Israel, when an estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled following Israel's declaration of statehood. Al Jazeera's Nisreen El Shamyleh reports.
(Al Jazeera English: 1707 PT, May 15, 2011) Egyptian police have fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo, after a group of demonstrators reportedly attempted to storm the building. Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith reports.
(Press TV: 0509 PT, May 16, 2011) Analysis of the Nakba protests from Iran's Press TV.
(Al Jazeera English: 0125 PT, May 13, 2011) The fight for global access to anti-Aids drugs has been given added urgency as a research study found that people with HIV who start taking anti-retroviral drugs early can dramatically reduce the danger of passing the virus to their partners.
(Al Jazeera English: 0405 PT, May 13, 2011) This exclusive report reveals the Bahraini government destroyed Shia mosques and religious institutions as part of its crackdown on dissent.
(Al Jazeera English: 0609 PT, May 13, 2011) Adel Al-Moawda, deputy Chairman of the Bahraini Parliament, reponds to allegations of attacks on mosques and medical staff by Bahraini authorities.
(Al Jazeera English: 0431 PT, May 13, 2011) At least 70 paramilitary trainees are killed just 50km from Abbottabad, in an apparent revenge attack by the Pakistani Taliban following the death of Osama bin Laden.
(Al Jazeera English: 0149 PT, May 12, 2011) Separatists in Southern Thailand speak exclusively to Al Jazeera about their fight for independence.
(Al Jazeera English: 0408 PT, May 12, 2011) Al Jazeera's exclusive report on Bahrain looks at the abuse of medical workers as part of the government's crackdown on dissent.
(Al Jazeera English: 0408 PT, May 12, 2011) AJE interviews Christopher Stokes of Doctors Without Borders on the subject of the abuse of medical workers as part of the government's crackdown on dissent.