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Activist Waleed Abulkair sentenced to 15 years in prison : The well-known lawyer has been battling in the defense of human rights and political reforms of the Saudi dictatorship. He is president of the "Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia."
Jeddah (AsiaNews) - Waleed Abulkhair, a lawyer involved in the defense of human rights in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
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The activist, whom Amnesty International describes as a "prisoner of conscience", was arrested last April 14. The condemned man has challenged the verdict. The sentence also includes a ban on foreign travel for 15 years and a fine of 200 thousand rials (about 54 thousand U.S. dollars).
The charges, all related to his battles in defense of human rights in Saudi Arabia, range from seeking to undermine "the legitimacy of the State"; "inciting public opinion and insulting the diminution of the judiciary"; "producing documents and declarations that harm the reputation of the Kingdom [Saudi]"; setting up "an unauthorized association, of which he is president and spokesman." This last charge refers to the "Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia," which has a profile on Facebook with thousands of members. The association aims to document and criticize human rights violations, especially in the field of justice. Abulkhair is known for his reformist positions for the Saudi kingdom which is ruled like a tribal dictatorship. In recent years he campaigned for political reform. Political parties are banned in the Kingdom.