Saudi police arrest prominent Shi'ite Muslim cleric

July 9, 2012 04:00
1 minute read.

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - A prominent Shi'ite Muslim cleric wanted for "sedition" was arrested in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province late on Sunday after being shot in the leg by police in an exchange of fire, the Interior Ministry said.

Activists said reports that Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr had been arrested prompted demonstrations in the mostly Shi'ite Qatif region of the Eastern Province, which has been the focal point of protests alleging discrimination, and where the cleric was seen as a leading radical.

Shi'ite activists and websites reported that at least two men had been killed in the protests, but there was no independent confirmation of the deaths and a government spokesman was not immediately able to comment on the reports of demonstrations or casualties.

"When the aforementioned person and those with him tried to resist the security men and initiated shooting and crashed into one of the security patrols while trying to escape, he was dealt with in accordance with the situation and responded to in kind and arrested after he was wounded in his thigh," the state news agency reported, citing Major General Mansour Turki, an Interior Ministry spokesman.

Turki said Nimr , who was accused of sedition , had been taken to hospital.

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