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Saudi issues 'fatwa' against opposition

Dubai - A leading Saudi Arabian preacher yesterday issued a religious edict, or fatwa, against the publishers of statements by a London-based Saudi opposition group.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdel-Rahman al-Jibrin, a member of Saudi Arabia's committee of religious edicts, said that statements by Mohamed al-Masaari should 'not be distributed or published in any way'.

Mr Masaari is a leader of the banned Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights in Saudi Arabia (CDLR), which was set up in 1993 by ultra-conservative Saudi religious figures and was declared illegal by Saudi religious leaders. The CDLR statements are all signed by Mr Masaari, a physics professor who the group says spent six months in detention in Saudi Arabia before going to London earlier this year. Sheikh Jibrin denies CDLR claims to be its founder.

The precise target of the fatwa was not clear since the Saudi media do not appear to have carried any CDLR statements so far. Reuter