Saudi Court Jails Sudanese Critic

A Saudi court has sentenced Sudanese journalist and media personality Ahmad Ali Abdelkader to four years in prison over tweets and media interviews critical of the Saudi government, according to the Human Rights Watch on Tuesday.

Abdelkader, 31, was sentenced on June 8 this year, on charges of “insulting the state’s institutions and symbols” and “negatively speaking about the kingdom’s policies,” among other charges including violating the Kingdom’s anti-cybercrime law.

Authorities in Saudi have arrested the journalist upon his arrival at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on April 19, detaining him in a Jeddah police station for 20 days before transferring him to al-Shumaisi detention center near Mecca.

The human rights group said he was denied access to a lawyer and legal representation at his trial.

“Jailing a media personality on bogus charges speaks more negatively about Saudi Arabia’s policies than anything Ahmad Ali Abdelkader ever posted,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“This and other similar prosecutions demonstrate just how determined Saudi authorities are to stamp out even the most minor criticism or questioning on social media and deter all dissent under threat of long prison sentences,” Page also said.

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