Saudi court upholds 8-year jail term for activist

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Saudi activist
Abdulaziz al-Shubaily will also be barred from writing on social media for eight years. Photo by Newsofbahrain

Dubai (AFP): A Saudi counter-terrorism court has upheld an eight-year prison sentence against one of the founders of a now banned human rights group, a monitor said on Wednesday.

Abdulaziz al-Shubaily will also be barred from writing on social media for eight years after his release and will not be allowed to travel, the Gulf Center for Human Rights said in a statement.

The verdict handed down on Tuesday “is essentially the same” as one issued against him in May, said the centre, which has offices in Copenhagen and Beirut.

It said Shubaily refused to recognise the court because it deals with terrorism offences.

An appeals court had sent his case back to the “Specialised Criminal Court” for a further review.

Shubaily has “used social media networks to call for reform and defend people’s rights” in the absolute monarchy, the Gulf Center said.

Shubaily was a leading member of the Association for Civil and Political Rights, which was dissolved by a Saudi court in 2013.

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He was the last of the group’s founders to be locked up, London-based Amnesty International has said.

Amnesty has denounced the kingdom’s “cynical use of a repressive and overly vague counter-terrorism law” against civil society.

The Gulf Center said the ruling against Shubaily, “which was issued after a mock trial that did not follow international standards and due process, is part of an ongoing trend adopted by the authorities”.

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