Saudi regime forces have reportedly arrested the official representative of Myanmar's persecuted Rohingya Muslims to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the holy city of Mecca.
Prisoners of Conscience, an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page that Dr. Abdullah Maarouf, the official representative of the Rohingya community to the OIC and the head of the Rohingya International Center, was detained in Mecca.
The development took palace only a few days after Saudi regime forces had arrested Rohingya Muslim Omar al-Arkani after raiding his home in Mecca.
Nearly 900,000 Rohingya refugees remain stuck in squalid, crowded conditions in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh after members of the Muslim minority were forced to flee their homes in 2017.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed, raped, tortured, or arrested by the junta forces, according to the United Nations, which has described the community in the western Rakhine state as the most persecuted minority in the world.
Dissident Saudi cleric dies in jail 'due to medical negligence'
Meanwhile, a dissident Saudi cleric has reportedly died in prison due to deliberate medical negligence, amid a crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against pro-democracy campaigners, Muslim preachers and intellectuals in the country.
London-based and Arabic-language Nabaa television news network reported on Wednesday that Sheikh Mutlaq bin Nghimish al-Dawish had passed away in prison.
Prisoners of Conscience also confirmed the report in a post on its Twitter page, stating that the circumstances surrounding the dissident’s death remain unknown.
Ever since Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has ramped up arrests of activists, bloggers, intellectuals, and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.
Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedoms of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied.
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, who was an outspoken critic of the Riyadh regime. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif in 2012.