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Saudi Arabia: Human Rights Activist on Trial

This Saturday 10 September, 2011, Saudi human rights activist Waleed Abu Alkhair (@abualkhair) faced the national court in Jeddah for “insulting judiciary”. Saudi tweeps discussed the case of Abu Alkhair using the hashtags #abualkhair and #wAbuAlkhair to show support and criticize the way authorities function against activists, or on the other hand, to describe Abu Alkhair as a “foreign agent” who's betraying the Saudi kingdom with his connections.

It was revealed, later on, that the Saudi activist wasn't only facing the charge of insulting judiciary, but also for demanding constitutional monarchy and other charges that the judge has refused to give a copy of to Abu Alkhair. In the following tweets, the activist tweets the charges he's facing and what happened in the first session of his trial:

Picture of Saudi Activist Waleed Abu Alkhair taken from the blog of Abdulrahman Fares

Picture of Saudi Activist Waleed Abu Alkhair taken from the blog of Abdulrahman Fares

قابلت مساعد القاضي وقرأ علي التهم وهي كالتالي الإساءة للقضاء وللعاملين فيه والتواصل مع جهات أجنبية

@abualkhair: I met the judge's assistant and he read the charges to me which are insulting judiciary and those who work in it, and contacting foreign bodies.

من التهم المطالبة بالملكية الدستورية والمشاركة في قنوات إعلامية لتشويه سمعة البلاد

@abualkhair: Other charges are demanding constitutional monarchy and participating in media to deform the country's reputation.

ايضا من التهم تحريض زوجتي سمر بدوي على السلطات, القاضي رفض إعطائي نسخة من لائحة الاتهام

@abualkhair: Also, one of the charges is encouraging my wife Samar Badawi against authorities. The Judge refused to give me a copy of the charges.

وأيضا رفض تحديد موعد للجلسة القادمة, أخبرني بأنهم سوف يتصلون بي لموعد الجلسة القادمة

@abualkhair: He [the judge] has also refused to tell me when the next session is, and told me to expect a call from them in that regard.

القضية منظورة لدى القاضي عبدالمجيد الشويهي والمدعي العام لم يحضر وانا راجع بيتنا خخخ

@abualkhair: The case is with the judge Abdulmajid Al-Shuwaihi and the public prosecutor did not attend and I am going home hahaha

نسيت أن أضيف أن من ضمن التهم: تأليب الرأي العام ضد النظام العام للبلد

@abualkhair: I forgot to add that one of the charges directed to me is encouraging people against the public order of the country.

Saudi tweep Mansour johny (@Alasbani1) wrote a critical note in the shadow of this trial:

في السعوديه فط تحاكم بسبب اراءك .. كانك أقترفت جريمة ضد أحدهم

@Alasbani1: Only in Saudi that you get trialed for your opinions, as if you made a crime against someone.

Another Saudi tweep (@MyyVoicee) wrote about this in relation to freedom of speech:

نعرف جميعا ان محاكمه ابو الخير هي محاكمه مزروه هدفها قمع الحريات

@MyyVoicee: We all know that Abu Alkhair's trial is a fraud trial that aims to oppress freedoms.

Mosfer Alwadee (@MosferAlwadee) tweeted sarcastically about the trial:

المطالبه بالاصلاح الدستوري جناية والدعوة لاصلاح القضاء اهانه والدفاع عن حقوق الناس تاليب ضد الدولة،مالذي بقي من المضحكات?

@MosferAlwadee: Demanding a constitutional monarchy is a felony, asking for judiciary reform is an insult, defending the rights of people is against the state. What is left to laugh at?

Co-Founder & President of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, Mohammad Al-Qahtani (@MFQahtani), linked the trial to oppression:

@MFQahtani: #abualkhair‘s court trial exposes #saudi judiciary as deeply selective and highly politicized! Has court become another tool of repression?

Saudi nicknamed tweep (@Saamaa2) however, stood in the other camp against Abu Alkhair:

@Saamaa2: Rediculous how puppets like #abualkhair #wAbuAlkhair have no one to defend them except puppets like them &orgs lacking integrity.

Abdulaziz (@abumjd) referred to Abu Alkhair as a “foreign agent”:

عندما يهاجم القضاء من أجل عميل فابتسم أنت في السعودية

@abumjd: When Judiciary gets attacked for an agent, smile you're in Saudi.

Another nicknamed Saudi (@SAHER1010) wrote:

وليد ابوالخير..يعتقد ان كونه “عميل” في منظمة “هيومن رايتس”سيوفر له غطاء “عالمياً”عند محاكمته…مايمديك العب غيرها

@SAHER1010: Waleed Abu Alkhair thinks that being an “agent” for Human Rights Watch can offer him an international cover for his trial. You do not have time, try another trick.

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