Saudis to go on hunger strike against activist detention

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Dozens of Saudis have signed up to join a two-day hunger strike this week to protest against the detention of a prominent rights activist, a rights group said.
Mohamad al-Bajadi was detained in March 2011, activists said, for supporting families demonstrating outside the Interior Ministry in Riyadh to demand the release of detained relatives. His trial, on charges including tarnishing the reputation of the state, has been suspended as he refused to recognize the court.
The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), which is promoting the hunger strike on Thursday and Friday, said 38 activists had signed up on its website so far to participate in the action.
"This weekend we will meet in a public place and strike in public, in a farmhouse in Riyadh, the Qurtuba district," activist Mohammad al-Qahtani told Reuters on Monday.
"We hope to shed light on Mohamad al-Bajadi's case and others like him because unfortunately the state does not listen to the people, so we want to alert the international community to put pressure" on it, he said.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said he was not aware of the case and declined to make any further comment.
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