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Saudi Arabia: Political Prisoners Face Harsh Prison Sentences

Nearly two months have passed since US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, during which he proved that his pledges to defend human rights are nothing but false promises and empty slogans.

Human rights defenders have earlier warned that Biden’s visit to the Kingdom will only provide a green light to commit more violations and tighten restrictions on opponents at home and abroad.

A few weeks after the visit, the Saudi authorities began to tighten and toughen prison sentences against the prisoners of conscience and opponents, both males and females.

Earlier this week, the Specialized Criminal Court of Appeals sentenced Abdullah Al-Hwaiti and Abdullah Al-Hwaiti to 50 years in prison, and imposed a travel ban for 50 years on both of them for showing solidarity with the Al-Hwaiti tribe who refused to leave their lands in favor of the NEOM project.

The Saudi writer and translator Osama Khaled was also sentenced to 32 years in prison.

The Court of Appeal also imposed a 25-year prison sentence against the academic Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Mahmoud, who has been detained since September 2021, for exposing corruption spread in the Kingdom.

The Specialized Criminal Court also sentenced the social media activist Mansour Al-Raqeeba to 18 years in prison, over his online activism.

A 15-year prison sentence was also imposed against Dr. Ibrahim Al-Dawish, who has been detained in April 2020.

The Specialized Criminal Court also issued a 8-year prison sentence against both Dr. Rashid Al-Alma’i and Dr. Qassem Al-Alma’i, and a 20-year prison sentence against Muhammad Kadwan Al-Alma’i. The three political detainees were all arrested in July 2021.

These harsh prison sentences came only a few days after the unfair court order against the Saudi researcher and doctoral student Salma Al-Shehab to 34 years in prison for spreading “rumors” and retweeting dissidents.

Salma’s verdict was followed by a 45-year prison sentence against the female detainee Noura bint Saeed Al-Qahtani after being convicted of “using the internet to tear the (Saudi) social fabric.”

Together for Justice renews its total rejection to such politically-motivated arbitrary court rulings which followed secret trials that violate international fair trial standards.

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