Arrests Make Mockery of Saudi Reform Talk

(International Herald Tribune) Mai Yamani - Saudi police last Tuesday arrested 13 leading liberals and academics, one of whom was humiliatingly detained during a university lecture and handcuffed in front of his students. The arrests came just a week after the Saudi government announced the formation of the National Committee for Human Rights. Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, told Secretary of State Colin Powell during the weekend that Saudi Arabia would manage its own affairs without any external interference. The Wahhabi religious establishment, with its plethora of online fatwas and unrelenting dogma against the West, will see the move as an essential act of house cleaning, ridding the country of any infectious notions of democracy. The writer is a research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London.

2004-03-23 00:00:00

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