Islam Times 17 Sep 2018 082018000000Mon, 17 Sep 2018 08:44:56 -0400 8:44 -------------------------------------------------- Title : Over 2,500 anti-regime activists held in Saudi detention centers: Group -------------------------------------------------- Islam Times - Saudi authorities are reportedly keeping more than 2,500 anti-regime activists behind bars as part of a widening crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against Muslim preachers, members of the press and intellectuals in the oil-rich kingdom. Text : The rights groupPrisoners of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page thatat least 2,613 people, among them prominent lawyers, judges, academicians and scholars, are currently languishing in jails and detention centers across the country. The group added that journalist Khalid al-Alamaki is being held in prison since September 27 last year onunknown charges. Saudi Arabia has recently stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecutionand conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners. Saudi officials have also intensified security measures in the Shia-populated and oil-rich Eastern Province. Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region. The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime, with Saudi forces beefing up security measures across the province. Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism. In January 2016, Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, an outspoken critic of the policies of the Riyadh regime. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif in 2012.