Saudi authorities release seven Shiite protesters
RIYADH - Saudi authorities have released seven Shiites detained after protests in the oil-rich Eastern Province earlier this year, activists said on Tuesday.
The group attended a "guidance session" by a Shiite cleric before leaving prison, the same sources said.
They were arrested during demonstrations supporting mass pro-democracy protests led by the Shiite majority in neighbouring Bahrain, and denouncing the intervention of Saudi troops there.
The protests shook the kingdom's Eastern Province from March, with a total of 385 people arrested, of whom around 60 remain in custody, according to activists.
Among those still held are Shiite cleric Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amer, human rights activist Fadel al-Munasif and writer Nazir al-Majid.
Saudi Arabia's estimated two million Shiites mostly live in the Eastern Province and complain of being marginalised in the Sunni-dominated kingdom.
Four Shiites were shot dead last month. The interior ministry said security forces had come under fire from gunmen operating on "foreign orders," hinting at involvement by Saudi's arch rival Iran.
The ministry said two policemen were wounded in the clashes.