AFP – Saudi authorities have freed prominent activist Waleed Abulkhair on bail after arresting him for holding “unauthorised” gatherings with reformists in the absolute monarchy, he said.
“The authorities have released me on bail,” Abulkhair, a lawyer, told AFP late on Thursday.
He added that new accusations could be added to previous charges of disrespecting the judiciary and having contact with foreign organisations.
His wife Samar Badawi told AFP on Wednesday Abulkhair was taken into custody for setting up “an unauthorised diwaniah” or gathering place, and because of his ties with reformists “and for hosting them in our diwaniah”.
In June 2012, he was accused of “disrespecting the judiciary system… contacting foreign organisations and signing a petition demanding the release of detainees”, some of whom were suspected of having links to terror, his wife said at the time.
Three months earlier, authorities banned him from travelling to the United States where he had been due to attend a forum organised by the State Department, he told AFP.
And in February 2011, he signed two petitions demanding political reform in the ultra-conservative kingdom, where political parties are banned.
Abulkhair has created a group on Facebook — Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi — which has nearly 7,000 members.