Saudi Arab

HRW slams Saudi Arabia for prosecuting lawyer

hwrHuman Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Saudi authorities to “immediately halt” a 1.5-year prosecution of a human rights lawyer, who has criticized the kingdom’s judiciary system.

The rights group said on Saturday that Walid Abu al-Khair, who is facing trial on the charges of “offending the judiciary” and “attempting to distort the reputation of the kingdom,” will appear before Jeddah’s Criminal Court on April 21.

The HRW, however, said that the charges against Abu al-Khair “are based solely on the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.”

“If Saudi authorities are truly concerned with the reputation of their judiciary, they should stop prosecuting lawyers who criticize the legal system’s failings,” said HRW Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson.

The trial of the Abu-Alkhair began in September 2011 after he criticized a judge’s ruling to jail his client for seven months without trial.

He has also been the coordinator of a team of lawyers for ten prominent human rights defenders. The activists were handed down 30 years of imprisonment in 2011.


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