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Following the stampede during the hajj in September 2015, amid international criticism of the infrastructure and safety measures provided by Saudi authorities, officials ordered an investigation into the incident.
The death toll from the stampede remained contested at the end of the year—while Saudi officials claimed that there had been 769 fatalities, estimates compiled by international news organizations reached as high as 2,400.
Women won approximately 1 percent of contested seats.
The kingdom’s crackdown on one of the country’s most prominent political rights organizations, the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), continued in 2015.
Muhammad al-Bajadi, one of the founders of ACPRA, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in March, with five of them suspended; al-Bajadi faced a variety of charges, among them acquiring banned books and organizing protests by the families of prisoners.
Saudi Arabia confronted a number of domestic and regional challenges in 2015.
King Abdullah died in late January and was succeeded by his brother Salman bin Abdulaziz, who began his reign with far-reaching changes to the line of succession and the cabinet that, among other things, empowered younger members of the royal family.