Saudi officials arrest radical Shiite cleric

10:27 PM, Jul 8, 2012   |    comments
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi authorities say they have arrested a radical Shiite cleric following a gunfight and car chase in an area of increasing tensions between the government and the country's Shiite minority.

The official Saudi Press Agency says Sheik Nimr al-Nimr was arrested after he and followers exchanged fire with security forces Sunday and crashed into one of the patrol vehicles. It said al-Nimr, who was wounded in the leg, faces charges of instigating unrest in the oil-rich eastern province.

The arrest could further escalate tensions in the area, where security forces have clashed with protesters demanding greater rights from Saudi's Sunni monarchy.

In 2009, al-Nimr threatened to lead a secession movement unless authorities address Shiite charges of discrimination, including being denied equal shares of the kingdom's oil wealth.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Associated Press

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