JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabian authorities are deploying a range of judicial methods to stifle the country's pro-democracy and human rights campaigners in a crackdown on dissent that includes jail terms and travel bans, according to activists.
Some rights defenders who have been held for years without trial had been presented to court in recent months in cases that demonstrate a change in the process of dealing with political prisoners, activists and lawyers told Reuters.
They said seven rights advocates, including professors and lawyers, had been investigated in the past five months and 20 had been banned from travel. Four of those investigated are facing trial while one has been sentenced to four years in jail.
"I believe that these trials come in the context of the suppression of the human rights movement," Abdullah al-Hamid, a former professor on trial on charges of inciting the public told Reuters. "Instead of introducing reforms to move away from police coercion, the government is putting activists on trial."