Saudi Arabia detains 3 in connection with December abduction of Shiite cleric

Saudi Arabia has detained three people and is searching for three others in connection with the December abduction of a Shiite cleric, the interior ministry said on Sunday.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Jirani, a judge, was abducted mid-December in a village in the Shiite-majority eastern district of Qatif, a centre of minority unrest since 2011 in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

State television has reported Jirani was critical of the unrest.

It called on the abductors to “immediately free” Jirani and said anybody with knowledge about the suspects who did not come forward would be prosecuted.

Shiites in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province have long complained of marginalisation.

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