The prominent Saudi Islamist preacher, Salman Al-Ouda, who was recently arrested by the Kingdom’s authorities, has started an open hunger strike in protest of his detention, online activists revealed yesterday.
“Sheikh Al-Ouda is banned from contacting anybody,” Twitter user Mujtahidd said, adding that he started an open hunger strike “until he is released or is being treated with justice”.
Last week, the Saudi authorities arrested Al-Ouda over his recent tweet that was said to have supported reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar following the boycott of Doha by Riyadh and a number of allied countries in early June. The cleric’s remark came following a US-brokered call between Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud.
The Saudi cleric’s arrest was part of an extensive arrests campaign launched by the Saudi security services a week ago. It included university professors, intellectuals, writers, economists, rights advocates, lawyers and media officials.
On 5 June, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with their Shia rival Iran. Qatar denies the charges, claiming the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty.