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The New Arab Staff

Saudi court sentences 'brother of reformist cleric Salman Al-Awdah' to five years

Salman al-Awdah's son said his uncle was arrested for expressing solidarity with the cleric [Twiitter]

Date of publication: 18 November, 2020

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A leading human rights platform corroborated the development in several posts to Twitter.

A Saudi court has sentenced the brother of jailed reformist cleric Salman Al-Awdah to five years in prison, according the cleric's son.

"Authorities, via a special criminal court in Riyadh, have sentenced my uncle to five years in prison and issued him a travel ban on charges of exploiting his brother's case to foment discord and harm security," Dr Abdullah al-Awdah tweeted on Wednesday.

He added that the decision came after three and a half years, during which his uncle, Dr. Khaled Al-Awdah, was detained and investigated over social media posts he made affirmed his solidarity with his brother following the latter's arrest in 2017.

A leading human rights platform corroborated the development in several posts to Twitter, saying that Dr. Khaled Al-Awdah was transferred to Riyadh "handcuffed and feet bound" in his first secret trial session in October 2018.

Prisoners of Conscience described his alleged abuse at the hands of the Saudi authorities, while denouncing his detention, trial and prison verdict as "illegal".

According to The New Arab Arabic-language site, the verdict is in its early stages and can still be challenged.

There has been no comment from Saudi authorities on the matter.

Salman Al-Awdah was among 20 people, including writers and journalists, arrested in September 2017 as part of a crackdown on dissent in the kingdom.

Human rights groups have said his trial, which continues in secret, is a political reprisal against him due to his role in the 1990s Islamist movement, which was associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

He has written hundreds of articles on Islamic law while at the same time embracing modernity and democracy.

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