“Together for Justice” condemns in the strongest terms, the unjust ruling of a Saudi court against Sudanese journalist “Ahmed Ali Abdel Qader” for sharing a number of tweets several years ago, in which he exercised his legitimate right to peaceful expression of his opinion.
On June 08, 2021, the Jeddah Criminal Court sentenced Abdul Qadir to four years in prison on charges of “insulting some state institutions and institutions” and “talking negatively about the Kingdom’s policy”, and other vague charges, which has not been revealed before due to the secrecy of the sessions and preventing its media coverage.
Abdel Qader, 31, was sentenced for tweets and media interviews he posted on Twitter in which he discussed the 2018-2019 Sudan revolution, supporting it, and criticizing Saudi interventions in Yemen and Sudan, as well as contacting a number of human rights organizations inquiring about its membership, which is considered as a crime by the Saudi authorities.
The Saudi court also ordered the closure of Abdul Qader’s accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Tik Tok, and the confiscation of his mobile phone under Article 13 of the repressive 2007 Anti-Cybercrime Law.
The Saudi security forces had arrested “Abdul Qader” on April 19, 2020, at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah because of the aforementioned tweets, and after more than a year of arbitrary detention, he was sentenced to a politicized trial that lacks the basic standards of a fair trial.
According to human rights sources, “Abdul Qader’s trial had only two short sessions. In the first, the charges were read out against him, and the judge deprived him of the opportunity to defend himself. In the second, the judge immediately read out the guilty verdict.”
It is worth noting that Abdul Qadir was sentenced under the Cybercrime Law, in which the indictment contains vaguely worded charges that Saudi authorities have often used to harass dissidents, restrict freedom of expression, and harshly punish peaceful criticism.
The arrest of “Abdul Qader” for expressing his opinion, his trial, and the issuance of this ruling against him can only be described as a form of the systematic terrorism practiced by the Saudi authorities against journalists, activists, those with opposing opinions, and critics of the regime’s internal and external policies.
We stress that these securities, judicial and other prosecution measures taken against journalists and critics show the insistence on eliminating any form of criticism or discussion on social media and deterring all opponents by threatening them with long prison terms in Saudi places of detention.