Activists in Saudi human rights group jailed for over a century
A group of peaceful Saudi human rights defenders have been handed combined prison sentences and travel bans of 199 years, a civil society group said on Monday.
Eleven activists from a Saudi human rights group have been detained since a government clampdown on the Saudi Association for Political and Civil Rights (ACPRA) over the past nine years.
The men were given jail terms of 105 years and travel bans of 94 years, according to the al-Qst association, which campaigns for human rights in Saudi Arabia.
The final cases in Riyadh's ongoing prosecution of members of the Saudi human rights movement concluded this week.
Activist Abdulaziz al-Shubaily was jailed for eight years, restricted from travelling for another eight years, and banned from social media.
Earlier, Issa al-Hamid was given an 11 year prison sentence, an 11 year travel ban and fine of 100,000 Saudi riyals ($27,000).
All 11 members of the ACPRA have been jailed and the association was dissolved in 2013.
Two of the men have since been released from jail and another two are on bail, but the remaining seven activists still languish in prison.
Saudi Arabia began the clampdown on the human rights group and members charged in 2009 and later detained activists for "founding an unlicensed association".
They were also jailed on charges ranging from "public incitement", "damaging the reputation of kingdom", "defaming the prestige of senior clerics", and "disobeying the ruler".
Lawyer Suleiman Ibrahim al-Rashoudi was handed the longest sentence of 15 years following his arrest in 2012, when he was placed in solitary confinement and denied visits from family members for two months.
Al-Qst says the charges against the men are baseless as the ACPRA carried out legitimate activities and the detentions are part of a systematic campaign by Saudi authorities to crush peaceful civil society activities.
The association has called for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscious in Saudi jails and for Riyadh to respect and protect human rights.