Saudi women protest angers authorities


Authorities in Saudi Arabia were angry because several women protested outside a government office without permission and without male guardians, officials said.

The women who gathered at the Interior Ministry Saturday did so in violation of Islamic tradition, which calls for women to be accompanied by their guardians, Gulf News reported Sunday.

Gulf News said Saudi authorities were investigating how the women were able to travel to the capital without being accompanied by men. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have regularly expressed concern about the state of human rights in the Arab nation.

The protesters are relatives of the deputy commander of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Saeed al-Shihri, Gulf News reported.

They called for the release of members of the Shihri family. The Interior Ministry said only the Shariah judiciary could make a decision on their release.

Al-Shihri was one of the first detainees held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and he was held in American custody nearly six years. He was on the Saudi list of the 85 most-wanted terrorists.

He may have been involved in the kidnappings and murders of foreigners in Yemen. Yemeni security forces reportedly captured him in January 2010.