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Saudi Arabia: Secret Trial Continues, So Does Activist Refusal

Earlier today, the Riyadh Criminal Court held the fourth hearing session for the ongoing trial of prominent human rights defenders and reformists Mohammad al-Qahtani and Abdullah al-Hamid. The first two hearing sessions were public, but when the judge decided to hold the third hearing session behind closed doors, they decided to leave.

The two reformists agreed to attend today's session to try to persuade the judge to make this political trial public.

Dr Al-Qahtani tweeted:

@MFQahtani: #ACPRA_Trial took two hours, it was spent on discussion about necessity of trial publicity, judge refused, we refused to acknowledge court.

@MFQahtani: #ACPRA_Trial presiding judge asked us to answer questions, we told him we only answer if a public trial is held, we walked out #Saudi #ACPRA

They also cited the case of imprisoned activist Mohammad al-Bajady who was sentenced to four years in prison in a secret trial last April:

قلت للقاضي اليوم لا نستطيع أن نتنازل عن مبدأ العلانية لأننا نصحنا زميلنا #محمد_البجادي بعدم الإعتراف بالمحكمة الجزائية المتخصصة #محاكمة_حسم

@MFQahtani: I told the judge that we cannot waive our right to a public trial because we have advised our fellow [reformist], Mohammad al-Bajady, to not recognize the legitimacy of the [secret] Specialized Criminal Court.

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