NEWS

Trial of Saudi scholar Salman al-Awdah postponed

The trial of scholar Salman al-Awdah in Saudi Arabia was postponed until December after it had been due to proceed in an antiterrorism court. He has been held for nearly two years in pre-trial detention, according to his son.

Al-Awdah faces the death penalty, and had been expected to appear in the Criminal Special Court in Riyadh in July.

But his son, Abdullah, made a statement on Twitter saying that the session had been postponed.

“Update in regard to the trial of my father in which the Saudi attorney general is seeking death penalty against him because of his activism. The session has been postponed for several months from today,” he tweeted.

This was the second postponement this year, after the cleric was arrested in September 2017 as part of a crackdown on dissidents.

Al-Awdah, who is in his early 60s, is a renowned Islamic scholar described by UN experts as a reformist.

He has a high level of international support and 14 million followers on Twitter.

He is reportedly facing the death penalty on public discord offences, and inciting people against the ruler. He is also accused of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-Awdah was arrested just hours after tweeting his support for a possible reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The cleric’s family said Saudi authorities demanded al-Awdah publicly back the kingdom in its blockade of Qatar, but he refused.

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