Writers Ali al-Domaini and Matrouq al-Faleh still in detention
Al-Domaini, a writer and poet, and al-Faleh, an academic, were arrested and detained in March 2004 for criticising the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) and for planning to set up their own human rights organisation. Opponents of the government claim that the NCHR is not an independent body. The NCHR is the kingdom's first official human rights institution and was approved in early March 2004 by the Saudi government as part of a series of limited steps geared towards political reform. However, many liberal and opposition figures, such as al-Domaini and al-Faleh, want to see speedier and more wide-ranging reforms than are being offered by the government at present.
Both men are charged with threatening "national unity" due to their advocacy for more wide-ranging political reform. They are accused of promoting a constitutional monarchy and using Western terminology in their demands for reform. It is also believed that both men are still in detention because of their refusal to renounce their political activism.