Saudi Arabia criticized for jailing human rights activists

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Saudi Arabia has come under sharp criticism from the UN Human Rights office over the arrest, trial and detention of human rights defenders.

This comes in the wake of the trial and conviction of Waleed Abu Al-Khair who was sentenced to 15 years in jail for allegedly inciting public opinion against the state and undermining  judicial authorities.

He was also accused of establishing a non-registered organisation and gathering and publishing information with the intention of inciting international organisations against the Kingdom.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the case against Abu Al-Khair is a clear illustration of the continuing trend of harassment of Saudi activists, several of whom have been convicted for peacefully promoting rights issues.

Ms Pillay said she was dismayed by the use of corporal punishment and urged Saudi judicial authorities to immediately put an end to its use noting that it was not in conformity with international human rights law, including the Convention against Torture, which the country has ratified.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1’04″

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