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Group: Saudi activist held after hosting forums

October 2, 2013

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A rights group says a prominent Saudi Arabian activist has been detained after leading meetings to discuss political affairs and other issues in the kingdom.

It was unclear whether Waleed Abu al-Khair will face new charges or was placed in detention related to his ongoing trial on charges that include opposing Saudi Arabia’s monarchy and ruling institutions.

The London-based Institute for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia says al-Khair was taken into custody Wednesday in Jiddah, where he was holding discussion forums on Saudi affairs. Al-Khair is a lawyer and founder of a human rights group.

Saudi authorities had no immediate comment.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab allies have expanded crackdowns on activists and perceived political dissent since the beginning of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.

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