SHAFAQNA- People in Saudi Arabia have held a funeral ceremony for a young Shia Muslim who was killed under regime torture nearly a month ago.
The funeral ceremony of Makki al-Aridh was attended by people in the city of Awamiyah in the Qatif region of Eastern Province on Wednesday. During the ceremony, people also denounced Riyadh’s oppressive policies against the country’s Shia minority.
Saudi authorities handed down Aridh’s body to his family after 26 days with signs of severe torture on it.
The 25-year-old went missing on March 2 after going out in his car to search for a job but never came back. Two days later, his family went to the police station to ask about the fate of their son but were shocked at the news of his death.
Police said they had detained Aridh at a security checkpoint in Qatif two days earlier, and transferred him to the police station in Awamiyah on charges of taking photographs of the checkpoint, adding that he died of fright due to a psychosocial illness on March 3.
The Shia Muslim youth’s family strongly rejected the charges and confirmed that their son had no physical or mental disorder, and that his health was excellent prior to his abduction. They also said in a statement that Aridh “was killed under torture while being held in custody,” and called for “an urgent, equitable investigation to” hold those responsible for the death to account.
Awamiyah, located some 390 kilometers (242 miles) northeast of the capital Riyadh, has witnessed peaceful demonstrations against the ruling Al Saud monarchy since February 2011. It was also the scene of protests in January after Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, among them prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, causing international outrage and a serious escalation of tensions in the region. Riyadh has also been under fire for having one of the world’s highest execution rates.