Saudi Security Forces Kill Suspect on List of 23

Saudi security forces have killed a man on Saturday night who fled when they tried to arrest him for allegedly taking part in protests in the Eastern Province, the Interior Ministry spokesman said today.

The state news agency quoted the spokesman as saying that Morsi Al Rabah “was involved in criminal acts that targeted Saudi nationals and citizens of his village.” The spokesman said police opened fire at Al Rabah when he fled as they tried to arrest him in the restive town of Awwamiya. He was wounded and died in hospital.

Al Rabah’s name appeared on a list of 23 wanted persons by the government in connection to protest demonstrations in Qatif, eastern Saudi Arabia.

In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency the spokesman urged the remaining 10 suspects on the same list, to “quickly hand themselves over to security bodies,” adding that “this will be taken into account when looking into their cases.”

Eastern Province Police said on Saturday a teenager was found dead with a stray bullet in his car after unknown gunmen opened fire at a police patrol in the nearby town of Toubi on Friday night. It was not clear if teenager’s death was linked to the gunfight. A local news site reported that another man was also killed on the same night, but this has not been confirmed by official sources.

Qatif has been rocked by sporadic violence since March 2011 as residents from the Shia minority clashed with security forces to protest what they say is the discrimination by the Saudi government. Authorities deny that they discriminate against the Shia and describes the protests as isolated riots.

Despite the crackdown by security forces, the protest movement in Qatif has managed to sustain itself for over two years. At least 20 people have been reported dead in the clashes.