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Eight Bahraini nationals released

Eight Bahraini men were released without charge in Saudi Arabia on 12 July 2008, after over four months’ detention. The men had travelled from Bahrain to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and were arrested by security forces when they arrived on 28 February. Their families had no contact with them and were not aware of their exact whereabouts for weeks. The eight men are teachers Sayyid Ahmad ‘Alawi, Majeed al-Ghasra, Muhammad ‘Abdullah al-Mu’man, ‘Abbas Ahmad Ibrahim, ‘Isa ‘Abdul-Hassan Ahmad, Muhammad Hassan ‘Ali Marhoun, and Ibrahim Marzam al-Haddad, and engineer Muhammad Mahdi Khalil. They were held in solitary confinement throughout their detention, without charge or trial. Amnesty International welcomes their release and their return home. However, the Saudi Arabian authorities continue to hold detainees incommunicado, and torture and otherwise ill-treat them. In 2007, the Ministry of Interior announced that there were at least 3,000 alleged political opponents then being held without charge or trial. The Ministry was reported to have disclosed that it detained 9,000 people between 2003 and 2007 as part of the “war on terror”.