Jordan says Saudi to free reform activist

Saudi authorities are to release a Jordanian reform activist held since the beginning of the year in a case that drew concern from human rights groups, the foreign ministry in Amman said Thursday.

"Saudi authorities told us that Khalid al-Natur will return to Jordan, most likely on Sunday," ministry spokesman Sabah al-Rifai told AFP.

Natur, a 27-year-old website developer and reform activist, was detained on January 6 when he and four associates arrived at Riyadh airport on a business trip, Amnesty International said.

The other four "were told they would risk a similar fate if they did not leave the airport immediately," the London-based watchdog said.

Amnesty said Natur had been arrested inside Jordan last year near the Saudi consulate in Amman for insulting a security officer during a protest "against Saudi Arabia's involvement in Bahrain."

Bahraini security forces, backed by Saudi and other Arab troops, bloodily crushed a month-long pro-democracy protest in March 2011.