Saudi academic freed after almost 10-year prison term, issued travel ban

Saudi academic freed after almost 10-year prison term, issued travel ban
Abdul-Kareem Al-Khodr, an acclaimed Saudi academic and founder of the Association for Civil and Political Rights, was allegedly imprisoned for objecting to the ban on women attending trials.
2 min read
08 January, 2023
Saudi Arabia often jails activists and critics who speak up for basic human rights in the kingdom [Getty]

The Saudi academic Abdul-Kareem Al-Khodr has been reportedly freed from prison following his completion of a near 10-year jail sentence, according to Arabi21, citing Democracy Now for the Arab World (DAWN).

Al-Khodr has also been prohibited from leaving the Saudi kingdom for a decade, due to what was described as his "political activity".

A professor of comparative jurisprudence at the Faculty of Sharia at Qassim University, Al-Khodr was arrested in 2013 for allegedly objecting to restrictions on women attending trials. Al-Khodr was sentenced following several court sessions, when he was issued an almost 10-year prison sentence. The academic was also slapped with a travel ban for a similar period.

Al-Khodr is also one of the founders of the Association for Civil and Political Rights in Saudi Arabia, (ACPRA), alongside activist Mohammed al-Qahtani, who still remains in prison.

The ACPRA has been disbanded since.

Prior to his imprisonment, al-Khodr headed the defence team for the late Abdullah al-Hamid and his brother Issa al-Hamid when they were imprisoned in 2008 on charges of incitement to demonstrate.

Al-Khodr conducted numerous legal studies concluding that peaceful demonstrations are permissible, as well as prisoners’ hunger strikes. He has authored a number of research papers on the matter throughout his academic career.

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Saudi Arabia has a history of detaining and imprisoning academics and activists who voice opposition to the kingdom’s laws, as well as for those calling for basic human rights.

Some of Riyadh’s most notable detainees are Raif al-Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 50 lashes a week for twenty weeks in 2014, and the now-released Loujain al-Hathloul, who served nearly three years in prison for her campaigning against bans on women driving.