A Saudi court has sentenced the prominent dissident economist, Essam Al-Zamil, to 15 years in jail after he refused to publish an interview with the kingdom's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, a rights group reported yesterday.
"The economist Essam Al-Zamil was unjustly sentenced to 15 years imprisonment after three years of arbitrary detention," the Prisoners of COnscious Twitter account said.
"Al-Zamil deserved a ministerial position in the ministry of economy but the repressive authorities have imprisoned [him] since 2017. Now they have completed that human rights violation by issuing a 15-year prison sentence against him," the tweet continued.
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"We affirm our total rejection of this ruling and demand his immediate release."
A renowned software entrepreneur, Al-Zamil was named by Forbes as "one of the most influential economic figures in the kingdom and founder of a pioneering information technology company", and received an award from King Salman for being the "youngest, most successful entrepreneur in the kingdom."
Al-Zawil, who had been held in pretrial detention for three years before the ruling was issued, was also accused of joining the Muslim Brotherhood, inciting local protests in the kingdom, and communicating with neighboring Qatar, which Saudi Arabia and its three regional allies launched a blockade on in 2017.