Saudi activist sentenced to 10 years in prison

A Saudi activist was sentenced to 10 years in prison and banned from traveling abroad for an additional 10 years, a human rights lawyer said Oct. 20. Abdel-Karim al-Khadar, a professor of Islamic studies from Qassim arrested in April 2013, was a leading activist against religious extremism and militancy. He was extremely vocal, posting videos online giving lectures on religion, women's rights and coexistence. He was sentenced by the Saudi Specialized Criminal Court, created to try terrorist suspects. He was convicted of disobeying the ruler, founding [an unofficial] human rights organization, supporting protests, violating Internet laws through his posts and accusing Saudi authorities of human rights abuses. Al-Khadar, a founding member of the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights, is the third activist to be sentenced to prison time this week. Seven of the group's founders are currently in prison.

Saudi Arabia is under growing criticizism for its treatment of human rights activists. Last month a group of UN human rights experts urged authorities in Saudi Arabia to block the execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was convicted of involvement in the Arab Spring protests when he was 17. In August Amnesty International reported that Saudi Arabia's flawed judicial system has resulted a surge of executions following unfair trials. According to AI, 175 people have been executed over the past 12 months with an average of one person put to death every two days. 

From Jurist, Oct. 21. Used with permission.