Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Riyadh blocks Amnesty Intl. website

Amnesty International's logo

Source: Press TV

The Saudi Arabian authorities have blocked public access to Amnesty International's website in response to the rights group's censure of Riyadh's intolerance toward dissent.

"Access to Amnesty International's website has been blocked in Saudi Arabia… following the organization's criticism of a draft anti-terror law that would stifle peaceful protest in the kingdom," the group said in a statement issued on Monday, AFP reported.

The so-called Draft Penal Law for Terrorism Crimes and Financing Terrorism authorizes the kingdom to detain people 'potentially indefinitely' without charge or trial.

It also allows the Saudi authorities to give a 10-year prison sentence to anyone who questions the integrity of King Abdullah or Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz.

"Instead of attacking those raising concerns and attempting to block debate, the Saudi Arabian government should amend the draft law to ensure that it does not muzzle dissent and deny basic rights," Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa director, said in the statement.

Sporadic protests have been held across the country despite a ban imposed by the Ministry of the Interior on demonstrations and public gatherings.

Saudi citizens have been expressing outrage over the government's imprisonment of people without charge and its suppression of women's rights. The unemployed have been calling for job opportunities and a fair share of the biggest Arab economy's oil income.

In April, the German newspaper Die Welt cited documents showing that 7,000 Saudi princes control the country's oil and business enterprises.

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