Saudi court upholds rights activist’s 8-year jail term
A Saudi court has upheld an eight-year prison sentence for an activist in the the latest case of the regime’s systematic persecution of human rights campaigners.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the [Persian] Gulf Center for Human Rights ([P]GCHR) announced the ruling against Abdulaziz al-Shubaily, a founding member of the banned Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA).
The verdict, which came following a Tuesday hearing by the Specialized Criminal Court, will also bar Shubaily from writing on social media and impose a travel ban on the activist for eight years after his release, the statement added.
It further went on to assess the ruling as similar to the previous one issued in May 2016.
Shubaily was accused of a range of alleged charges, such as calling for demonstrations in the kingdom, being a member of the ACPRA and accusing judges of rights violations as well as preparing, storing and sending data affecting public order.
He had earlier refused to recognize the court dealing with his case, arguing, “human rights and people that have views should not be tried and convicted of terrorist offenses as the Saudi government is doing now using the Law for Crimes of Terrorism and its Financing.”
Elsewhere in its statement, the [P]GCHR condemned the ruling, which it said was issued following “a mock trial that did not follow international standards and due process.”
The court decision “is part of an ongoing trend adopted by the [Saudi] authorities, which includes the prosecution, arrest, torture, and judicial harassment of human rights defenders in the kingdom,” it noted.
Last May, Amnesty International also denounced Shubaily’s conviction as “an attempt to put the final nail in ACPRA’s coffin.”
The ACPRA’s dissolution in 2013 was another proof of the Saudi regime’s resolve to “conceal” its dire human rights record.
Saudi Arabia is under fire for its appalling human rights record inside and outside the kingdom. The country’s justice system has been routinely censured for denying access to fair trials and violating basic legal rights.