The Saudi Arabian authorities continued their cynical use of a repressive and overly vague counter-terrorism law to purge the Kingdom’s small and embattled civil society by convicting the human rights defender Abdulkareem al-Khoder and imprisoning him for 10 years, Amnesty International said.
Abdulkareem al-Khoder, a co-founder of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), was jailed in June 2013 for eight years after a trial before a criminal court. His sentence was overturned last year but he remained arbitrarily detained in prison. His latest conviction was handed down by Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) under a counter-terrorism law that took effect in February 2014.
"By using abusive counter-terrorism legislation and a deeply deficient specialized court to intimidate and lock up human rights defenders, Saudi Arabia is sending a chilling message that anyone who speaks out will be purged," said James Lynch, Acting Deputy Programme Director at Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
Abdulkareem al-Khoder, who is also a former professor in the Faculty of Islamic Jurisprudence at al-Qassim University, is one of 11 founding members of ACPRA who are either already behind bars or still on trial for calling for political and human rights reforms.
Adapted from Amnesty International website