Saudi Arabian Shiite sentenced to 30 years in prison for protest participation
A Saudi Arabian Shiite citizen of the overwhelmingly Sunni kingdom was sentenced for 30 years for acts of violence and protest over Riyadh's decision to aid Bahrain in suppressing its opposition risings in 2011, according to Agence France-Presse Monday.
The citizen was accused and found guilty of participating in protests held in the town of Qatif and for his statements "calling for the withdrawal of Saudi Forces" that had been sent to its Gulf neighbor Bahrain.
He was further charged for "throwing petrol bombs" at security officials during the Qatif protest, after the forces intervened into the demonstration and cracked down on the protestors.
The name of the sentenced defendant was not provided to AFP. He, along with the prosecutor who had demanded that he be sentenced to the death penalty, plan to appeal the case.
Saudis intervened into Bahrain in March 2011 in order to assist Manama security forces with "crushing" the Shiite-led majority opposition uprising. The opposition had demanded new democratic reforms from the Sunni minority leadership.
Protests in Saudi among minority Shiites erupted as well in response to Riyadh's support of Bahrain's violent crackdown, particularly in KSA's Eastern Province where more than 2 million Shiites reside.
At least 10 people were killed in clashes with Saudi security officials after Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr, considered the leader of the Shiite protests in KSA, was arrested by authorities.
Though tensions still remain, plans to establish a center for Sunni-Shiite interfaith dialogue under the auspices of King Abdullah seem to have mitigated clashes in Qatif.