A political dissident and renowned Muslim preacher in Saudi Arabia has reportedly been brutally tortured in prison as a crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against Muslim preachers and intellectuals widens in the conservative oil-rich kingdom.
The rights group Prisoners of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization seeking to promote human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page that Dr. Ali al-Omari is currently suffering from severe burns and injuries all over his body as a result of savage beatings and electric shocks he experienced during his detention in solitary confinement for 15 continuous months.
It added that Omari was recently released from solitary confinement.
Saudi authorities arrested the cleric, who had called for more rights for women and campaigned against the violent Wahhabi ideology in his TV shows, in early September 2017, together with a a group of preachers, academics and writers.
Wahhabism is freely preached by Saudi clerics backed by the regime in Riyadh. The Daesh Takfiri terrorists and other militant groups use the ideology to declare people of other faiths “infidels,” justifying the killing of their victims.
Omari is said to have been completely prohibited from visits and contact with his family during his time in solitary confinement.
Saudi Arabia has lately stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners.
Saudi officials have also intensified security measures in the Shia-populated and oil-rich Eastern Province.
Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.
The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime with security forces increasing security measures across the province.
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 policies of the Riyadh regime. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif in 2012.