TEHRAN (Press Shia) – A prominent Saudi cleric died after five months in detention, his family and rights activists said, amid heightened criticism of Riyadh’s human rights record following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Ahmed al-Amari, who previously served as a dean at Islamic University in Medina, was transferred to a government hospital earlier this month after suffering a brain hemorrhage, London-based rights group ALQST and activists said late on Sunday.
Amari’s son, Abdullah, confirmed the death on Twitter and said funeral prayers would be held on Monday afternoon, Reuters reported.
There was no immediate comment from the Saudi authorities.
Amari, a Sunni Muslim, was arrested in August when security forces raided his home and then held in solitary confinement, according to the activists.
He and some others detained at the same time are believed to be close to influential religious scholar Safar al-Hawali, who was arrested in July 2018 after publishing a book critical of the Saudi royal family.
Saudi Arabia has witnessed a crackdown on dissent, including the arrest and torture of women activists as well as liberal intellectuals.
The most high-profile incident involving Riyadh over the past year has been the murder of dissident journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October. Khashoggi was killed and his body dismembered after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Various reports have verified that some on a team sent to carry out the murder had been drawn from among the personal bodyguards of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, whom Khashoggi would repeatedly criticize before his murder.