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Saudi human rights advocate Abdulkarim Al-Khodr sentenced to 10 years in prison

Abdulkarim Al-Khodr, co-founder of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) in Saudi Arabia, is the tenth founding member of ACPRA to be jailed.

This statement was originally published on on 20 October 2015.

On 19 October 2015, the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), sentenced human rights defender Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Khodr, co-founder of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), to ten years in prison and a ten-year travel ban to take effect on completion of his sentence.

Once again, the sentence was handed down following a grossly unfair trial that was based on trumped up charges that include disobedience of the ruler, instigation to cause chaos through the organization of protests and demonstrations, undermining the state's image by publishing false information and distributing it to foreign organizations and the collaboration in the founding of a non-licensed association (ACRPA).

Dr. Al-Khodr is the tenth founding member of ACPRA to be jailed, which shows the extent to which the Saudi authorities are trying to curtail any civic space in the country. He was arrested on 24 April 2013 during his initial trial at the Criminal Court in Buraidah. He is currently in detention in Al-Malaz prison in Riyadh and has reportedly been continuously harassed in prison and subjected to verbal abuse by the other prisoners.

It's worth mentioning that after two previous trials the charges against him were quashed and a verdict for his release was ordered but the Saudi judiciary instead referred his case to the SCC. The SCC deals with cases related to terrorism and not peaceful and legitimate human rights work.

Please see the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)'s previous appeals on this matter through the following link:

The GCHR deplores in the strongest terms the heavy sentencing of human rights defender Dr. Al-Khodr in a trial that lacked basic international standards and due process. Once again, the GCHR expresses grave concern about the expanded use of a politicized judiciary in Saudi Arabia in order to target human rights defenders and calls on the international community, including the UN system and governments that have influence such as the US and UK, to intervene immediately to protect human rights defenders at risk in Saudi Arabia.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights urges the Saudi Arabian authorities to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Khodr and drop all charges against him as he has been targeted solely due to his peaceful and legitimate human rights work;

2. Release all detained human rights defenders and drop all charges against them immediately and unconditionally;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in KSA are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • ADHRB Condemns Court Rulings against ACPRA Members

    “With these rulings, the Saudi government silences a group that transcended social divisions and consistently advocated for peaceful change, even as they asked for far-reaching reforms,” said ADHRB Executive Director Husain Abdulla. “Both the Saudi authorities and the international community are well aware that the kingdom will not reach its stated benchmarks for reform unless ACPRA’s members are free and working for change within civil society.”

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