JEDDAH – A prominent Saudi rights campaigner, who has been detained for a year, is not on hunger strike, an Interior Ministry spokesman said in response to activists saying he was in deteriorating health and Saudi authorities were to blame.
Mohamad Al-Bajadi was detained in March 2011 after expressing support for families demonstrating outside the Interior Ministry in Riyadh to demand the release of jailed relatives, fellow activists say.
“Mohamad Al-Bajadi did not go on hunger strike and he is in good health, consuming food on a regular basis and in the company of other inmates,” ministry spokesman Mansour Al-Turki said late on Tuesday.
Activists and the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) said at the weekend that Bajadi had been on hunger strike for the past month, and had stopped drinking water.
Bajadi’s condition could not be independently verified. His trial, on charges including tarnishing the reputation of the state, was suspended after he refused to recognize the court.
Last week, Al-Watan reported that Crown Prince Naif ordered the release of “non-dangerous” prisoners and those whose sentences are almost complete. The pardon excluded detainees convicted in cases of national security. – Reuters