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Saudi Judge: Bashar al-Assad is the Outcome of Democracy

This post is part of our Special Coverage: Reformists on Trial in Saudi Arabia

The ninth hearing session of one of Saudi Arabia's rare public trials of two prominent human rights activists Mohammad Al-Qahtani and Abdullah Al-Hamid was held today [Dec 15, 2012] at the Riyadh Criminal Court. In the last hearing session, the defendants presented their defenses, and today, the defendants provided additional clarifications and they were questioned by the judge. The number of attendees exceeded 100 for the first time, including five women. Some attendees were not allowed in because the courtroom was full.

In previous sessions, the head of Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association Suleiman al-Rashudi represented Dr. al-Hamid, but he was arrested on Wednesday after giving a lecture about the permissibility of peaceful protests. Ex-member of the governmental Human Rights Commession Ibrahni al-Mudimig replaced him. Commenting on the failure of the governmental commission:

#د المديميغ…يقول استقلت من هيئة حقوق الإنسان بعد ربع مدتي لانهم لا يسمحون لنا بزيارة السجون إلا باستئذان #حسم

@nad3m: Dr. al-Mudimig said: I resigned after just a quarter of my [membership] period because they did not allow us to visit prisons without a prior permission.

Dr. al-Hamid read a 40-page-long response to questions that the judge asked in the previous session. He said that “the fourth Saudi state”, a constitutional monarchy, must be established. Further more, he said that it was anti-religious “for a cleric to remain silent…when he sees the powerful exploiting the weak…like if social justice was not a major religious principle .” It was followed by a debate, ironically, between the judge and the two activists. al-Hamid cited the support of Saudi government for Syrian opposition to demonstrate that it was legitimate to overthrow oppressive rulers:

#القاضي_حماد_العمر: لا يجوز الخروج على الحاكم المتغلب. أبو بلال: بشار حاكم متغلب. القاضي: الحكم الشوري هو الذي جاء ببشار للحكم. #محاكمة_حسم

@SultanAlfifi: Judge Hamad al-Omar: It is forbidden [in Sharia law] to overthrow oppressive rulers. [Dr. al-Hamid]: Bashar [al-Assad] is an oppressive rulers. Judge: Bashar [al-Assad] is the outcome of democracy.

Dr. al-Qahtani gave the judge a quick history lesson on the military coup that brought al-Assad family. Dr. al-Hamid said: “[Apparently,] military coup is what you are advocating for.”

Attendees wore badges after the end of the session to demand the release of al-Rashudi. via ACPRA

The public prosecutor confirmed that prisons are not being inspected:

اعترف ممثل هيئة الادعاء العام ان الهيئة لم تستكمل صلاحياتها ( مثل مراقبة السجون) بسبب عدم وجود الكوادر الكافية. 6
د.الحامد موجها كلامه للإدعاء: لكم في الهيئة عشرون سنة و لم تستكملوا صلاحياتكم للآن؟ عشرون سنة و لم تنجحوا في رقابة السجون؟! 7
د.الحامد : أمضيت فترات طويلة في السجن و لا أنا أو أي سجين قابلته رأى ممثلا عن هيئة الادعاء العام!!! 8

@freedom_Yar: The representative of the Bureau of Public Prosecution admitted that the Bureau has not yet done all of its responsibilities (like overseeing prisons) because of the lack of manpower.
@freedom_Yar: Dr. al-Hamid said to the public prosecutor: It has been 20 years [since the Bureau was established] and you have not done your responsibilities yet? 20 years without success in overseeing prisons?
@freedom_Yar: Dr. al-Hamid: I spent long periods in prison and I did not, neither did any other prisoner that I have met, see a representative of the Bureau of Public Prosecution

The next session will be the last hearing session before the ruling and it will be held after two weeks, on December 29.

This post is part of our special coverage: Reformists on Trial in Saudi Arabia

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