Saudi rights campaigner given 4 yrs' jail, activists say

By REUTERS
April 17, 2012 21:05

 
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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - A court in Riyadh has sentenced prominent Saudi rights campaigner Mohamad al-Bajadi to four years in prison, activists said on Tuesday.

Bajadi was detained in March 2011 after voicing support for families demonstrating outside the Interior Ministry in Riyadh to demand the release of jailed relatives, according to fellow activists. They say he has been on hunger strike for a month.

"Last Tuesday, after the news of the hunger strike came out, they took him to the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh and he objected to the legitimacy of the court ... and despite that the judge sentenced him," activist Fowzan al-Harby told Reuters.

Bajadi has sent a handwritten letter to fellow activist Mohammad al-Qahtani saying his charges included forming a human rights association, tarnishing Saudi Arabia's reputation in the media, questioning the independence of the judiciary, encouraging political detainees' relatives to demonstrate and owning illegal books.

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