Saudi Arabia: 5 Years On, Activist Still Behind Bars

April 15, 2019

2014_Saudi_WaleedAbuKhair

Saudi authorities should immediately release the prominent human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair, who was sentenced in 2014 to 15 years in prison solely for his peaceful human rights advocacy, Human Rights Watch said today.

The Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), Saudi Arabia’s terrorism tribunal, convicted Abu al-Khair in July 2014 primarily for his comments to media outlets and tweets criticizing Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, especially the country’s harsh sentences against peaceful critics. In addition to his 15-year sentence, the court also issued a 15-year travel ban and imposed a fine of 200,000 Saudi Riyals (US$53,000).

 

“Stifling peaceful dissent with outrageous sentences has shown the Saudi government’s lack of commitment to serious political and civil reform,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “A serious reform campaign, no matter how Saudi-funded public relations propagandists spin it, doesn’t entail locking up human rights defenders for 15 years for courageously speaking up.”
Abu al-Khair’s trial before the Specialized Criminal Court opened in October 2013. Following his fifth trial session on April 15, 2014, the interior minister issued a detention order, and Abu al-Khair has remained in detention since then. He is in al-Dhahban prison, north of Jeddah.
In its July 2014 decision, the court found Abu al-Khair guilty on six charges: “seeking to remove legitimate authority;” “harming public order in the state and its officials;” “inflaming public opinion and disparaging and insulting judicial authority;” “publicly slandering the judiciary, distorting the kingdom’s reputation, making international organizations hostile to the kingdom, and issuing unverified statements that harm the kingdom’s reputation and incite against it and alienate it;” “founding an unlicensed organization;” and violating Saudi Arabia’s anti-cybercrime law.
Abu al-Khair is a lawyer who has represented several others facing human rights violations as a legal advocate, and also founded Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, a human rights organization that published information about human rights issues in the kingdom.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/04/15/saudi-arabia-5-years-activist-still-behind-bars

HRW calls on Saudi Arabia to release human rights lawyer

https://www.ifex.org/saudi_arabia/2019/03/25/al-qahtani-mistreatment/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waleed_Abulkhair

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2019/04/15/arabie-saoudite-cinquieme-annee-de-prison-pour-lactiviste-waleed-abu-al-khair?fbclid=IwAR39PqALljbp4s6mak76nEPU-aPkyK-qjQEXest7mqYKNozoB-xzgLm1e_8 (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waleed_Abu_al-Khair (FRANCAIS)

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