January 2, 2018 / 1:20 PM / a year ago

U.N. rights experts decry repression of activists in Saudi Arabia

GENEVA, Jan 2 (Reuters) - United Nations human rights experts called on Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to end “repression” of rights activists and release dozens detained since September for peacefully exercising their civil and political rights.

In a statement, they decried a “worrying pattern of widespread and systematic arbitrary arrests and detention” of religious figures, writers, journalists, academics and activists through the kingdom’s use of counter-terrorism and security-related laws.

“We are witnessing the persecution of human rights defenders for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association and belief, as well as in retaliation for their work,” the five independent experts said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by John Stonestreet

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