Rights group: Canadian released from Saudi prison

AP News
Posted: Oct 31, 2011 1:57 PM
Rights group: Canadian released from Saudi prison

The Islamic Human Rights Commission says a Canadian man who was beaten and dragged out of a mosque while performing an Islamic pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has been released from prison.

Sheik Usama Al-Atar was arrested in Medina during dawn prayers and held about 24 hours until he was freed Monday, the group said.

The London-based group, which spoke to witnesses, says Al-Atar, a Shiite, may have been arrested for criticizing the kingdom's handling of uprisings in Yemen and Bahrain.

Massoud Shadjareh, spokesman of the rights group, said the arrest reflects Saudi intolerance toward Muslims who do not follow the country's conservative Wahhabi trend of Islam.

Al-Atar, a lecturer at the University of Alberta in Canada, said he plans to continue his pilgrimage.