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- Written by Eman Jueid
- Category: In Other News
In a secret session on 10 April 2012, the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh sentenced Mohammed Saleh Al-Bajady, who was denied legal representation, to four years in prison followed by a five-year travel ban. A day later, the same court sentenced Dr. Yousif Al Ahmad, dean of the law faculty of Imam Mohamed Bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, to five years in prison, a five-year travel ban, and a 27,500-dollar fine. The sentence of both Saudi political activists demonstrates a recent shift in the legal proceedings of Saudi prisoners of conscience. Not only has the imposition of travel bans as a form of punishment been alarmingly increased; peaceful political activists are also being tried in a court whose mandate is to prosecute terrorist and security-related offenses. Where the Ministry of Interior was once the sole institution that issued such punishments, today it is using the courts to give the arbitrary travel bans a legitimate façade. The ministry’s ability to render arbitrary travel bans and overstep the judicial branch are, however, still intact. In light of increasing political activism and mobilization across the Kingdom in the last year, the ministry has resorted to unwarranted travel bans and the special court to suppress freedom of speech and to give a distorted legal legitimacy to its orchestrated attack on dissent.
READ MORE AT Jadaliyya
*Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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