Saudi Forces Hunt and Kill ‘Wanted’ Protester in Residential Area

According to netizen reports, Saudi Emergency Forces entered residential areas in the eastern city of Qatif over two nights and opened fire. An innocent bystander was killed on the first night, and a man ‘wanted’ by authorities for protesting and demanding reform in the Kingdom, was shot dead on the second night.

On Friday, the night of June 21, 2013, Emergency Forces fired live bullets while chasing a suspect on his motorbike in Toubi village in Qatif. Nineteen-year-old Ali Al-Mahrous was sitting in his car in that area at the time. According to Nabaa TV, he was shot [ar] and moved to a hospital. Reports say he died while he was being taken to a hospital, but pictures show him dead [ar] in his car.

19-year-old Ali Al-Mahrous. Screenshot from Nabaa TV report on the June 21 shooting uploaded on its YouTube channel.

19-year-old Ali Al-Mahrous. Screenshot from Nabaa TV’s report on the June 21 shooting, uploaded to its YouTube channel.

The Eastern Provincial Police reported [ar] another story. The police claim that unknown gunmen fired at a police patrol which compelled the police to fire back. Later, they received a call about a teenager wounded from a stray bullet; they attempted to rush him to a hospital, but he died on the way.

On Saturday evening, June 22, Saudi Emergency Forces came again. This time their target was Morsi Al-Rebh, one of the 23 wanted persons by the government for his participation in protests that swept Qatif with the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring in 2011.

Sources say forces did not try to arrest Morsi before shooting him. Eyewitnesses say many gunmen started firing in the air to disperse t people gathered to put decorations for an upcoming religious celebration. After firing directly at Al-Rebh, two of the gunmen asked him who he was; when he confirmed his identity, they threw him in the back of the car and drove away. The official government news agency, SPA, reported [ar] that forces tried to arrest him, but he fled which forced them to handle the situation and shoot him.

The bodies of both men, Al- Mahrous and Al- Rebh are still with authorities, their families have refused to take them.

The family of Ali Al-Mahrous [ar] refused to take his body until an official investigation is opened, but the authorities refused and threatened to bury him in the desert. As for the corpse of Morsi Al-Rebh, his family received a call from the Ministry of Interior telling them that they can only take the body if they sign an agreement not to have a funeral procession – a deal the family had refused.

This is not the first time Saudi emergency forces have fired live bullets in a residential area. On September 26, 2012, government forces raided Awwamiya village, targeting Khaled Al-Labbad, who was also  on the list of the 23 wanted persons. They immediately killed him along with a 16-year-old teenager who was accompanying him, Mohammed Al-Mnasif. Three others were wounded in that shooting. One of them, 16-year-old Hassan Al-Zahrai later died in hospital.

The 23 wanted persons are accused of causing disorder and riots, among other charges and were called to hand themselves over to authorities. Many of them denied all charges and said their only crime was protesting peacefully demanding their rights. Citizens in Qatif complain of the discrimination they face as Muslims of the Shiite sect, but the government denies such discrimination.

Since the beginning of the protest movement in Qatif in early 2011, at least 20 people have been killed by security forces.

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