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Amnesty: Saudi cleric Ouda faces possible death penalty for peaceful activism

July 27, 2019 at 11:28 am

Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia to drop plans to seek the execution of cleric Salman Al-Ouda and release him without condition.

In a press release issued yesterday, Amnesty International revealed that Al-Ouda will probably be handed a death sentence tomorrow.

Reporting CNN, Amnesty International said Sheikh Al-Ouda once advised the country’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman on possible reforms in Saudi Arabia.

The 61-year-old was subsequently arrested in 2017 and is currently facing numerous charges connected to his peaceful activism, Amnesty said.

Amnesty added: “He is on trial at Saudi Arabia’s notorious anti-terrorism Specialised Criminal Court, and the Saudi Public Prosecutor recently called for the cleric to be sentenced to death.”

READ: Online petition calls for release of Saudi Salman Al-Ouda

Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said: “We are gravely concerned that Sheikh Salman al-Awda could be sentenced to death and executed.”

“Since his arrest almost two years ago, Sheikh al-Awda has gone through a terrible ordeal, including prolonged pre-trial detention, months of solitary confinement, incommunicado detention and other ill-treatment – all flagrant violations to his right to a fair trial.”

“The Saudi authorities continue to claim that they are fighting ‘terrorism’ when this trial – as well as those of other activists, including the 37 men who were executed in April – are clearly politically-motivated and meant to silence independent voices in the country.”

“Sheikh al-Awda has been calling for a more inclusive society that would end the marginalisation of Saudi Shia citizens. For this, he is being punished.”

“Instead of moving ahead with this sham trial, they must immediately and unconditionally release Sheikh al-Awda and drop all charges against him.”

So much for Freedom of Expression in Saudi Arabia – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]