Imprisoned preacher Issam Al-Owaid sentenced to 27-year in prison

Together for Justice vehemently denounces the 27-year prison term imposed on Saudi preacher Issam Al-Owaid, following his covert retrial after he fully served his first sentence in January.

Al-Owaid was arbitrary arrested in February 2017 on charges of “finalising a terrorist group” over his contribution in collecting donations for the Al-Emaar Charitable Foundation, which was legally acting within the Kingdom. Over his pro-democracy opinion, Al-Owaid was targeted more than once by the Saudi security services.

In December 2019, the Saudi Specialised Criminal Court sentenced him to four years in prison, with a one-year suspended sentence. Accordingly, he was due to be released in January 2020. However, Saudi authorities refused his release.

In February 2022, the Saudi Court of Appeal decided to retry him without any legal basis. Well-informed sources affirmed that the Court of Appeal recently held his first retrial session in October 2021. He was then sentenced to 27 years in prison. Al-Owaid’s trial was secretly held without the presence of his legal team or his family.

Issam Al-Owaid was born in Al-Rass, Qassim, in 1971 AD.
His significant influence on Gulf youth has been well-known since he first appeared among preachers. He was renowned for taking a firm stance against ISIS. He had backed the youth revolutions in the Arab world. Along with his advocacy work, he was involved in relief efforts both inside and outside the Kingdom via the Saudi law-governed Al-Emaar Charitable Society, which operates under a license.

Issam Al-Owaid is a prominent Saudi scholar and a lecturer at Al-Imam University in Riyadh and a preacher in one of the capital’s mosques. Notwithstanding his illustrious past, the Saudi government wrongfully detained him in February 2017 on the grounds that he had funded extremist and terrorist groups at home and abroad.

We, in Together for Justice, call on UN agencies to pressure the Saudi authorities for the release of Issam Al-Owaid and all prisoners of conscience, activists and intellectuals held in Saudi jails.

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