Sweden’s defense minister has criticized the violation of human rights in Saudi Arabia, describing the kingdom as a “dictatorship.”
“Saudi Arabia is an authoritarian regime and an absolute monarchy, where serious human rights crimes are committed,” Karin Enstrom told the Swedish news agency TT.
“The (Swedish) government does not qualify countries as democracies or dictatorships, but if the only choices to describe Saudi Arabia are as a democracy or dictatorship, then Saudi Arabia has to be described as a dictatorship,” said Enstrom, who is also a member of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s conservative Moderate Party.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Saudi regime ”routinely represses expression critical of the government”.
Since February 2011, protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in Qatif and Awamiyah in Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, as well as an end to widespread discrimination.
However, the demonstrations have turned into protests against the repressive Al Saud regime, especially since November 2011 when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the province.
Similar demonstrations have also been held in Riyadh and the holy city of Medina over the past few weeks.