Home » Saudi Arabia court sentences brother of government critic to 20 years prison over social media activity: Human Rights Watch

Saudi Arabia court sentences brother of government critic to 20 years prison over social media activity: Human Rights Watch

by Derek Andrews
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Human Rights Watch mentioned on Tuesday {that a} Saudi Arabia courtroom sentenced 47-year-old Saudi trainer Asaad al-Ghamdi to twenty years in jail over costs referring to his social media exercise. Asaad al-Ghamdi is the brother of Saeed bin Nasser al-Ghamdi, a authorities critic residing within the UK. Human Rights Watch mentioned that Saudi authorities usually have interaction in transnational repression in opposition to the members of the family of abroad critics to coerce critics to return to Saudi Arabia.

Human Rights Watch acknowledged that Asaad al-Ghamdi was convicted by Saudi Arabia’s Specialised Prison Courtroom on Could 29 of offenses over his “peaceable expression on-line.” Based on courtroom paperwork, he was charged underneath Articles 30, 34, 43 and 44 of Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism law, which embrace costs reminiscent of publishing false and malicious information and difficult the faith of the King and the Crown Prince, and arrested for publishing posts that harmed Saudi Arabia’s safety on social media web sites. Saudi authorities didn’t inform him of the costs imposed on him till his first trial on September 7, 2023, and didn’t inform him of the rationale behind his arrest in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on November 20, 2022.

Human Rights Watch was instructed that the prosecution used Asaad al-Ghamdi’s posts on X (previously Twitter) as proof in opposition to him. A few of his X posts criticized modifications within the Saudi authorities and tasks related to Imaginative and prescient 2030, the Crown Prince’s program to diversify Saudi Arabia’s financial system, and mourned the demise of former human rights chief Dr. Abdallah al-Hamed who handed away in jail upon being convicted of costs referring to “peaceable human rights activism[.]”

Asaad al-Ghamdi’s court-appointed lawyer didn’t meet him outdoors courtroom periods or present him with courtroom paperwork on his case. His lawyer additionally refused to accede to his household’s request to submit proof that he suffered from epilepsy, a medical situation that requires fixed medical consideration. Human Rights Watch urged Saudi authorities to instantly present Asaad al-Ghamdi with ample medical consideration throughout his detention upon being instructed that he was taken to a basic doctor, though his situation requires medical consideration from a specialist. Saudi authorities held Asaad al-Ghamdi in solitary confinement for 3 months and didn’t enable him to speak with others for nearly two months. His household visited him for the primary time on January 11, 2023.

Saudi Arabia researcher at Human Rights Watch Joey Shea mentioned:

Saudi courts mete out [decades-long] sentences to extraordinary residents for nothing greater than peacefully expressing themselves on-line … The federal government also needs to cease punishing members of the family of critics residing overseas … Saudi Arabia’s allies ought to condemn these sentences and demand that the Saudi authorities launch the prisoners and finish their repressive practices.

This isn’t the primary time a rights group has pointed out that Saudi authorities are cracking down on people who categorical their opinions. Amnesty Worldwide mentioned that Saudi authorities targeted quite a few people in 2023 for exercising their proper to freedom of expression, leading to arbitrary detentions, in depth trials and disproportionate prolonged jail phrases and even demise sentences. As well as, Amnesty Worldwide additional reported in October 2022 that ten Egyptian Nubian males had been imprisoned following what was described as a “grossly unfair trial.” Human Rights Watch documented an identical case in 2023, during which a person was sentenced to demise based mostly on his X and YouTube actions. The person was not granted entry to authorized counsel for many of his detainment.

Relatedly, on September 15, 2023, UN specialists issued a proper enchantment to Saudi Arabia, urging the revocation of the demise sentence imposed on Mohammad Al Ghamdi, one other brother of Asaad al-Ghamdi, who was accused of partaking in social media dissent over his X posts and YouTube exercise. Asaad al-Ghamdi was charged underneath the identical articles Mohammad Al Ghamdi was sentenced underneath. In response to Mohammed al-Ghamdi’s demise sentence, Saeed bin Nasser al-Ghamdi mentioned that his brother’s demise sentence was a false ruling meant to coerce him to return to Saudi Arabia. Human Rights Watch additionally urged Saudi authorities to supply Mohammed al-Ghamdi, who additionally suffers from epilepsy, with medical consideration.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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