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Saudi activist sentenced to 15 years in prison

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 10 October 2012 - ANHRI condemns the sentencing of reform activist Talal Al Majid to 15 years' imprisonment for having been in contact with the dissident Saad Al-Faqih.

Al Majid has been in prison for the last 10 years, accused of supporting reform leaders, as well as for the transfer of remittances from certain Gulf citizens to Al-Faqih. He has also written a book on Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, for which he allegedly took photographs of areas frequented by foreigners. In its proceedings, the court relied on confessions obtained by security authorities through coercive means and torture.

Ahmed Rashid, an activist and the lawyer for this case, said that "the trial took place over the span of eight hearings, and considered the case on the merits, thereby ignoring the procedural defenses related to obtaining evidence." He added that he will receive the details of the sentence on behalf of his client in a week. He stated that they will then have 30 days to appeal the decision, while recognizing that the appeal process is flawed and does not allow the client to appear before the court.

In a related incident, the Saudi authorities arrested Sheikh Adel El-Faleh on Monday, October 2 on charges of "incitement by wearing the blue uniform of a detainee." In a sit-in that took place last weekend in the Kingdom, El-Faleh wore the uniform in solidarity with detainees. This followed a call, spread on Twitter by some activists, to wear this uniform in order to denounce the lack of information provided on arrests and trials as part of a media blackout.

The security forces also arrested Nawaf Al-Ruwaili for standing in front of the Al-Jawf Emirate and demanding the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

"The sentencing of Talal Al Majid is a continuation of a series of charges being issued to opposition activists in an attempt by the Saudi authorities to silence the opposition," stated ANHRI.

ANHRI questioned the validity of detaining someone for 10 years or more in prison without bringing them to trial, considering the fact that the law requires the accused person to be tried within a period of 45 days.

ANHRI calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Saudi, or have them be brought before a fair trial.

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