Saudi reformer freed after 8 months in jail
Reuters - Monday, January 12
RIYADH - A leading Saudi campaigner for political rights has been released without charge after eight months in detention, a rights activist said on Sunday.
Matruk al-Faleh, a politics professor, was set free on Saturday after he was taken from his offices at King Saud University in Riyadh last May, said Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, who runs an independent rights group called Human Rights First.
He said he had spoken to Faleh after he was released without any charges being laid or any reason offered for his detention.
Faleh was sentenced to seven years in jail in 2005 along with two others for organising a petition calling for Saudi leaders to set a timeframe for transforming the country's closed political system into a constitutional monarchy.
King Abdullah pardoned them on accession to the throne later that year but since then a number of reform activists have been detained without charge or on charges related to "terrorism."
The kingdom has no political parties and governance is dominated by the royal family in alliance with cleric-judges who administer an austere version of Islamic law.
Two days before his arrest Faleh had published a report detailing bad conditions in state security prisons.
"We demand that the government release the remaining prisoners of opinion and conscience in Saudi Arabia," Human Rights First said in a statement.
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