British, US Shi'ites accuse Saudis of torture

Eight British and American Shi'ite Muslims who say they were detained and tortured by religious police during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia are calling for compensation and a full inquiry. Group members, some of Iraqi descent and aged between 16 and 26, said Friday that they were visiting the Kaaba, the cube-shaped shrine in the holy city of Mecca that pilgrims circle, when Saudi police interrupted them and called them infidels. The police noticed the group was praying in the Shi'ite manner, which differs slightly from the Sunni style, the accusers said. Saudi Arabia's official strict Wahhabi version of Sunni Islam considers Shi'ites heretics. The seven Britons and one American produced photographs of injuries they said police inflicted on them. Images included bruising and spots of blood on one group member's head and cuts and bleeding from another's arm.