Sunday, June 4, 2017
SAUDI COURT UPHOLDS 7-YEAR JAIL TERM AGAINST PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE
A Saudi Arabian court has upheld a seven-year prison sentence for writer Nazeer al-Majed in the latest case of the Saudi regime’s systematic persecution of political dissidents and human rights campaigners.
The Court of Appeal in Riyadh handed down the ruling against the 39-year-old father of two on Thursday, confirming the same verdict which the so-called Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in the capital had issued on January 18.
The SCC had sentenced Majed to seven years in prison, to be followed by a seven-year travel ban and a fine of 100,000 Saudi riyals (about US$26,000).
He was convicted of “breaking allegiance to the ruler” King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, “participating in protests and writing articles opposing the policy of the state” and “communicating with media.”
The Saudi writer has been held in incommunicado detention ever since.
Majed was previously arrested on April 17, 2011 at Jabal al-Noor public school in the Eastern Province city of al-Khobar, where he worked.
He was initially held for five months in solitary confinement, and imprisoned in the detention facilities in the Eastern Province city of Dammam, without charge or trial, until his release on July 26, 2012.
On October 24, 2016, he was charged with offences stemming from his peaceful exercise of right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.
Majed was detained at the fifth court session on January 18, after being sentenced to prison.
Amnesty International has urged Saudi Arabian authorities to release Majed immediately and unconditionally.
Saudi Arabia has faced protests since 2011, when a wave of uprisings and revolutions hit dictatorial Arab monarchies in the Middle East and North Africa.
Human rights organizations have repeatedly criticized Britain and the United States for giving the Saudi regime an easy pass on perpetrating human rights abuses on its own people.